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Ontario restricts private gathering sizes as COVID-19 cases rise

With more than 400 new coronavirus cases reported for a second day, the Ontario government has reduced limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. Earlier this week, the government imposed these restrictions in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.

These new limits are effective immediately. Organizers of gatherings in violation could face a minimum fine of $10,000 and those who attend could also be fined $750.

The details were provided Saturday by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“Over the past several days, we have seen an alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province,” said Ford. “Clearly, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. That’s why we are taking decisive action to lower the size of unmonitored private social gatherings in every region of Ontario. We need everyone to follow the public health rules in order to prevent another provincewide lockdown, and protect all our citizens, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.”

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbecues or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:
10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

“We are taking further action to slow the spread and limit new cases of COVID-19 by reducing the size of private social gatherings across Ontario. This action is based on the increasing case counts that we are seeing,” said Elliott. “As we continue to closely monitor the spread of this virus, we will never hesitate to take further action to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.”

The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

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  1. Michelle says:

    We are no where close to returning to normal if ever. Wave 2 is started and will collide with flu season putting health resources in dire straits. Many are not recognizing the seriousness here, perhaps because we have been for the most part virus free. It is now when we require everyone to do their part in reducing contacts and protect us all.

  2. Doris lane says:

    It has been reported that at least one restaurant has good indoor restrictions for eating inside
    Everyone wears a mask inside to take off when eating and if a waiter approaches they put their mask back Tables are set up a proper distance apart
    A friend in Belleville said a restaurant she went to had glass
    between the tables too
    Let’s hope everyone observes all the restrictions so we can combat this virus and get back to normal

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    This article supports what many have stated about what is being noticed here in PEC – with the way so many tourists have been acting – a lot of people in close proximity to each other and showing no regard for those around them. What we need to remember is that these recent numbers being reported by the province are a result of what took place prior to the schools opening! I fear for the kids and teachers – hopefully this is not the beginning of even greater numbers being infected – this could get out of control very quickly. Here’s hoping!

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