Ontario restaurant workers will be added to the list of essential workers who can get priority access to COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination rollout.
On March 5, officials had released a detailed list of people who would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2. In that list, foodservice staff were not specifically mentioned.
However, on March 23, Premier Doug Ford confirmed that restaurant staff will be added to the list.
“The restaurant workers are going to be in phase two,” Ford told a news conference, but they will be in line after teachers, child care, food plant and agricultural workers.
Under the government’s current COVID-19 distribution plan, essential workers who cannot work from home will begin to be vaccinated in June. In Phase 2, set to begin in April, anyone 60 years of age and up, who has an underlying health condition, lives in a congregate setting or who is part of a vulnerable population in a COVID-19 hot spot with a high incidence rate will get their shots first.
Per CP24, people in occupations deemed essential will have to sign forms attesting to their jobs and bring proof of employment to the vaccination site, such as an identification card from work, a letter from their employer or any kind of professional ID or registration card.
The first group of essential workers includes food and animal welfare inspectors, food plant and distribution staff, and agricultural and farm workers.
That group is not slated to begin getting shots until early June, although officials have previously said timelines could be moved up if enough doses are received from the federal government.
Once they have been offered vaccinations, a second group of essential occupations who cannot work from home will be invited to make appointments for shots in the second half of June. It is that group that will include restaurant, grocery, and food bank workers.