Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 18, 2020
Ontario rolls back gathering limits in some areas as 293 new COVID-19 cases reported
Ontario is rolling back gathering limits in some areas of the province and also implementing new fines for people who host and attend large gatherings during the pandemic, Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday.
This comes as the province reported 293 new cases of COVID-19. Infections in Ontario have been on an upswing since mid-August.
Ford said that starting Friday in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region, gatherings are now limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors. Those new caps don’t extend to places such as restaurants, movie theatres, banquet halls, gyms and convention centres.
Ford said that the new gathering limits don’t apply to those areas or to schools, because those places have “really strict protocols in place.”
“We’re comparing apples and oranges here,” Ford said. Instead, the new measures are meant to discourage things like parties.
The premier said the province is also instituting a minimum fine of $10,000 for the organizers of illegal social gatherings, as well as a $750 fine for people who show up to them.
“We will throw the book at you if you break the rules,” Ford said.
“They must be a few fries short of a happy meal, these people.” (CBC)
Meanwhile, In response to “ridiculous” lineups of people waiting to be assessed for COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford said on Tuesday that Ontario residents may soon be able to get tested at local pharmacies. This also prompted Mayor John Tory to call for hours at assessment centres to be extended. (Blog TO)