Province to distribute free, take-home COVID-19 rapid tests at LCBO locations over holidays
Published Wednesday, December 15, 2021 4:06PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 15, 2021 5:41PM EST
The province says free take-home COVID-19 rapid tests will be handed out at select LCBO stores as part of an “enhanced testing strategy” over the holidays.
On Wednesday, the provincial government announced that starting today, up to two million rapid tests will be given out free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic areas, including malls, retail stores, holiday markets, public libraries, and at transit hubs.
The province said it plans to deploy “pop-up teams” to nearly 50 locations and teams will either distribute take-home tests or provide asymptomatic rapid antigen screening on site.
Take-home rapid tests will also be offered for free at some LCBO stores, beginning with the 100 busiest stores this week. The province said more stores will be added to the program in the “coming days.”
For a full list of places where you can pick up a free rapid test kit follow this link
Officials did not say exactly how many tests would be distributed to LCBO stores.
More information on pop-up rapid antigen screening sites can be found by visiting Ontario.ca/holidaytesting.
"Every test we have is on its way out the door," Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The province has been criticized in recent months for failing to make rapid tests more accessible to members of the general public and for underutilizing rapid tests in Ontario schools.
The province previously announced that it will be sending 11 million rapid tests home with Ontario students to use during the winter break.
Today’s announcement comes after Alberta announced Wednesday that take-home rapid testing kits would be available for free at select pharmacies. Pharmacies in Ontario will conduct rapid antigen tests on asymptomatic Ontarians for $40 a pop but take-home tests are not available for purchase.
In Nova Scotia, free take-home tests are being distributed to public libraries in the province.
The Ford governement also announced today that starting Monday, it will be expanding booster shots eligibility to all adults who received their second dose at least three months ago. In an effort to curb the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, the provincial government is also reducing capacity at large sports and entertainment venues starting on Dec. 18.