Following seven consecutive week-over-week increases in new COVID-19 infections per population, including especially steep increases in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto, the Ontario Government has announced that it is returning the public health regions of Ottawa, Peel and Toronto to "modified stage 2 restrictions" for a minimum of 28 days.
The new restrictions were announced ahead of the long weekend, in an effort to reduce the spread. Effective Saturday, October 10, 2020:
- The following businesses are required to close:
- Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
- Indoor cinemas;
- Performing arts centres and venues;
- Spectator areas in racing venues;
- Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.
- Gatherings and organized public events (including tour and guide services, real estate open houses, in-person teaching and instruction, meetings) are limited to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained (schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc. are exempt from these restrictions).
- Indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls is prohibited.
- Personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming) are prohibited.
- Team sports are limited to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).
Schools, childcare centres, and places of worship will remain open in these communities and must continue to follow the public health measures in place. Before-school and after-school programs will also be exempt from these new restrictions.
The news release regarding new measures is available on the Government of Ontario's website.
Although the other public health regions remain in Stage 3, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is urging all Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to essential trips, and to continue practicing physical distancing with persons outside your household.
Ontario had been in Stage 3 of reopening since this summer (see Ontario annouces stage 3, increases public gathering limits; Ontario: 7 more regions enter stage 3; and Ontario: Toronto and Peel region to enter stage 3)