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 new limits will only apply to persons within the boundaries of the following public health units and will come into effect on September 18 at 12:01am.
- Ottawa Public Health;
- Peel Public Health; and
- Toronto Public Health.
Gathering Limits From September 18 at 12:01am:
- 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
- 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. These are not accumulative and gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
Fines & Penalties:
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.
$10,000 will be introduced as an amendment to Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. If passed in the legislature, it would create:
- A minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of these gatherings.
- Authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe additional types of premises for the purpose of the new offence.
- Authority for a police officer, special constable or First Nations constable to order the temporary closure of a premise where there are reasonable grounds to believe that any gathering exceeding the number of people allowed is taking place and require individuals to leave the premises.
As per the news release, these new compliance mechanisms are the most stringent in all of Canada.