Ontario to limit capacity at eateries, retailers at 50%; other provinces to follow
Canada’s largest province announced Friday that it is cutting capacity at restaurants, bars, malls and retailers to 50% and limiting social gatherings inside restaurants to 10 people in an effort to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said that other new pandemic restrictions will halt the sale of alcohol 10 p.m. and bar the sale of food and drink at sports events and movie theaters. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the coronavirus variant is unlike anything they have seen, saying Britain’s experience with surging infections is an urgent call for action. Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, being home to about 40% of the country’s people. The new restrictions take effect Sunday and come after the provinces of Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba announced similar restrictions that will start next week. Over the past seven days, Canada has seen an average of 5,000 new coronavirus cases daily, 45% higher than the previous seven-day period.
COVID-19 disrupts sporting events across North America
This weekend is less about the sporting events taking place and more about what’s now off the docket as COVID-19 is again disrupting schedules and forcing postponements and cancellations. The recent outbreak prompted the NFL to reschedule three games: The Cleveland Browns-Las Vegas Raiders matchup was moved from Saturday to Monday (5 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Also, the Los Angeles Rams will now host the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Football Team will play at the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, FOX), a shift from Sunday. The NHL on Friday announced all games for the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames will be postponed through at least Dec. 23, and the teams’ training facilities have all been closed. Saturday’s game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens was also postponed. The NBA has not made any additional postponements beyond two Chicago Bulls games earlier this week, but the league is increasing testing for players and personnel.
Tiger Woods competes in golf tournament for first time since accident
Tiger Woods returns to professional golf for the first time in a year, when he teams up with his son, Charlie, for the PNC Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida. Woods was last seen playing golf in this event one year ago. In February, he suffered major injuries from a single-car crash in Los Angeles and has not competed since. Originally called the Father-Son Challenge, the 36-hole weekend event has expanded to include pro golfers and a parent or child. Tiger and Charlie finished seventh in the 2020 event behind the winning pair of Justin Thomas and his father, Mike. Television coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel). Tiger and Charlie are scheduled to tee off at 12:18 p.m. ET.
Australia tries to contain outbreak linked to Taylor Swift album party
If they haven’t done so already, those attending a Taylor Swift album party in Australia connected to a COVID outbreak are being urged this weekend by government officials to get tested. The Dec. 10 “On Repeat: Taylor Swift Red Party” in Sydney appears linked to 97 new COVID-19 cases, according to the New South Wales Ministry of Health. “NSW Health is urgently contacting 600 people who attended Metro Theatre” and urging them to get tests, the agency said. Australia has strict COVID-19 regulations such as penalties for non-compliance with isolation, testing and quarantine requirements.
Gritty ‘Yellowstone’ prequel ‘1883’ makes its premiere
The drama “1883,” a prequel to the popular series “Yellowstone,” premieres Sunday on streaming service Paramount+ and on the Paramount Network. The first two of the ten episodes will be available on the cable network before the remaining episodes shift to the streaming service exclusively. “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan tells the story of the Dutton family as they travel through the Great Plains – with the help of Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) and his partner, Thomas (LaMonica Garrett) – to Montana in the the 19th century. Married country singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill star as James and Margaret Dutton, the Dutton patriarch and matriarch and great-grandparents of John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner in “Yellowstone.” But the series, which also features appearances by Tom Hanks and Billy Bob Thornton, is seen through the eyes of the Duttons’ daughter, Elsa (newcomer Isabel May), who provides a “poetic narration … that imbues the often harsh drama with poignancy,” as USA TODAY’s Melissa Ruggieri notes.
Contributing: The Associated Press