OHS Canada Magazine

Ontario cracks down on social gatherings; $10,000 fines for rule violators

Change affects Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa, but not businesses


By Shawn Jeffords

TORONTO — Ontario is lowering the number of people permitted at social gatherings in three regions that have recently seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The change will only affect Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa, and will not apply to businesses like restaurants, movie theatres, or banquet halls.

Premier Doug Ford says starting Friday only 10 people will be allowed to gather indoors, down from the current limit of 50, while the number for outdoor gatherings will drop from the 100 to 25.

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Fines for the organizers of events that violate the new rules will be a minimum of $10,000, while those attending the gatherings with face $750 fines.

Ford and medical officials have linked social gatherings to the increase in virus rates in some regions of the province.

Ontario reported 293 new cases of COVID-19 today, and three new deaths related to the coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto reported 85 new cases, with 63 in Peel Region and 39 in Ottawa. She said 70 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.

45,676 cases in Ontario

The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 45,676, which includes 2,825 deaths and 40,424 cases classified as resolved.

There were also 179 cases newly marked as resolved over the past 24 hours, and the province said it processed 35,134 tests over the previous day.

Ontario also reported 21 new COVID-19 cases in schools, including at least five among students.

The new cases, which also include four staff members and 12 people who aren’t identified, bring the total number of schools with a reported case to 51 out of the province’s 4,828.

That number includes one high school in eastern Ontario that has been ordered to close after three staff members tested positive.

The Renfrew County District School Board posted a notice on social media Wednesday saying the local public health unit had ordered the immediate closure of Fellowes High School in Pembroke, Ont.

The notice said the third case was detected on Wednesday and was linked to two previously announced cases, all among staff members at the school northwest of Ottawa.