Mayor worries Barrie, Simcoe County could be next in line for restrictions on social gatherings

Same problem occurring here as in Toronto with rising COVID numbers

Mayor Jeff Lehman is not worried about an influx of GTA residents with the social gathering restrictions that went into effect Friday morning in Toronto and Peel Region, but he is concerned the city may soon be facing the same restrictions, “What’s relevant here is that the same problem is occurring here as is occurring in other larger centres. The caseload numbers just aren’t quite as severe yet.”

Province restricts gathering sizes in COVID-19 hot spots Toronto, Ottawa, Peel; a dozen cases confirmed in Simcoe County

Queen’s Park has scaled back the size of social gatherings to 10 people inside and 25 people outside in Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa. This applies to such things as house parties and backyard BBQs. It does not include gatherings at staffed facilities like banquet halls or movie theatres. Bars and restaurants are also exempt – case investigations suggest they have not been a big factor in the recent surge in cases.

Mayor Lehman notes house parties and BBQs have been worrisome in terms of exponential spread where one person gives it to ten people and each of them gives it to ten people and all of sudden you have a hundred people with it a few days later.

“You have to take this seriously or we’re going to see further shutdowns”

– Jeff Lehman, Mayor, City of Barrie

Lehman says we may have to rethink family celebrations like Thanksgiving. Rather than hosting a house full of relatives, he says we may want to consider a guest-list of four or five until we get through this.

And we will get through this, he says.

“You know, something I think we forget – because right now it feels like ‘here we go again, when is this ever going to end’ – is there is an end to this. And it’s about how are we going to manage getting there, how many people are going to get sick and how many people are going to die before we get there. And that is up to us.”

Lehman says there will be increased messaging from the city about the use of face coverings, hand-washing, and social distancing, in hopes of avoiding the same restrictions that have been invoked on Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.