Ontario is further reducing outdoor gathering limits
Ontario is once again lowering the outdoor gathering limit in the province in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at a critical time when cases are rising and hospitals are close to being overwhelmed.
Premier Doug Ford announced a host of new restrictions on top of those already in place under the province-wide shutdown Tuesday afternoon, including a second declaration of a state of emergency and the issuance of an official stay-at-home order.
And while gathering limits in Ontario have already been extremely restricted for quite some time now, with no indoor gatherings permitted at all and outdoor gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people, the province is once again tightening the rules in hopes that it will help the situation improve.
"Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions," reads a news release outlining the province's new restrictions.
"This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely."
But while small gatherings of just five people are permitted outdoors, the new stay-at-home order mandates that Ontario residents remain at home at all times with the exception of essential outings such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.
In other words, meeting up with four friends to hang out outside is out of the question right now.
I don’t understand the new state of emergency in Ontario? You can only go to the grocery store but there’s also an outside social gathering limit? pic.twitter.com/gjGsPEElwt— None Of Dem (@joaofe747) January 12, 2021
And the province is also scaling up enforcement efforts to ensure residents are obeying the stay-at-home order, and that they will face consequences if they're not.
"Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA," says the province.
"In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house."
The provincial government is also now recommending that masks be worn outdoors in addition to in indoor public spaces.
This news comes as experts have been warning that while the risk of transmission is highest indoors, as we've known for quite a while, COVID-19 is unfortunately more likely to spread outdoors in the cold winter air than in the humid summer air.
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