Ford announces new, tougher rules for social gatherings in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel

Published On September 17, 2020 | By Pablo Balza | COVID-19, News

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Pablo Balza

Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet are scaling back the number of people allowed at social gatherings in three Ontario COVID-19 hotspot regions.

The news was announced in a press conference held by Ford earlier Thursday.

Ford said he is decreasing the sizes of outdoor and indoor private events in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto, as per the rules of Stage 2.

The province reverted from its Stage 3 numbers back to allowing 50 people to gather outdoors and 10 person social bubbles, he said.

The new rules may not apply to businesses and restaurants, many of which already have restrictions to help slow down COVID-19.

“I stood up here for weeks if not months begging people to go get tested and — good positive news — I drove by a test centre down at College [Street] and people were lined up,” Ford said, talking about what he saw during a drive in downtown Toronto on Wednesday.

Still, the premier said more has to be done to keep people safe and healthy.

Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel have all experienced a rise in the COVID-19 cases since last week, Ford said during the press conference.

On Wednesday, during the press conference, Ontario’s government reported 315 new cases of COVID-19 which has become the highest amount of cases confirmed since June.

“We’ve seen two days this week of over 300 new cases, within a 24-hour period,” Ford said. “As a province, we have to help them, all three regions, not just to stop the spread to other parts of Ontario, but to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Most of the province’s new cases have been related to having large crowded social events, meetings and weddings according to the Ontario Minister of Health.

“There’s going to be severe fines for people wanting to ignore regulations and guidelines, so it’s going to be the highest in the country and there going to be under provincial jurisdictions, not under federal jurisdictions, so we’ll make sure it’s follow-through,” Ford said regarding people who decide to break the new regulations.

He said there will be fines up to $10,000 for anyone exceeding the social gathering numbers.

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