TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford has slapped new social gathering restrictions on the entire province, saying that “alarm bells are ringing” as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
In a rare weekend press conference, Ford said the province needs to take “decisive action” to stop the spread of the disease.
Effective immediately, new gathering sizes will be capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for at least the next 28 days. The previous gathering limits were 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
“We need to take decisive action as we did in the early stages of COVID-19,” Ford said. “Too much of it has been tied to people not following the rules – people who think it’s okay to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal.”
“We can’t have these wild parties right now. It’s just way, way to risky. Don’t try to get around the rules.”
The new rules also do not apply to places of worship or wedding ceremonies, although large receptions held in private residences, backyards or parks will fall under the gathering limits.
Ford stressed that most large facilities and restaurants are implementing strict protocols to ensure a safe environment.
In addition to the new gathering restrictions, the premier said that his government will issue hefty fines of up to $10,000 for anyone who organizes a private gathering that exceeds the limits. This is in addition to the current $750 fine for those caught violating COVID-19 rules.
Ontario recorded another increase in COVID-19 cases on Saturday, recording 407 new infections for the second straight day. Saturday’s case count is also an increase from Friday when 401 new infections were reported.
Photo credit: JOHN LAPPA/POSTMEDIA NETWORK /Toronto Sun