As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in York Region, the Ontario Government has declared it will be rolled back into a modified Stage 2 of recovery.
As of 12:01 a.m. Monday, the region’s gyms, indoor dining establishments, and movie theatres will be among those businesses that will be required to close for 28 days. These mirror restrictions put in place in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region last week, also as a means of curbing rising caseload numbers.
“We’re seeing a rapid increase in the rate of infection,” said Premier Doug Ford of York Region’s recent rise in caseload. “The positivity rate of 2.77 percent is above the ‘high alert’ threshold of 2.5 percent. Cases per 100,000 in York are now nearly 39, well above the provincial average and similar to what we’ve seen in our worst hot spots.”
York Region has consistently found itself in the top hot spots in Ontario, with 127 cases reported Thursday alone.
Measures under this modified Stage 2 include:
- Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
- Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;
- Closing of:
- 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, (except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance subject to conditions, including no spectators)
- Spectator areas in racing venues;
- Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high-risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
- Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
- Prohibiting real estate open houses (permitting in-person showing by appointments only)
- Reducing the capacity limits for:
- Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
- In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with certain exemptions, including for schools, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
- Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors with limited exemptions, including for government operations and the delivery of government services; and
- Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).
While the edict comes into effect on Monday, an AAA/AA rep hockey tournament is scheduled to start in Vaughan on Friday’ close to 70 teams will be involved, including players from hot spot Toronto and Mississauga. Teams have paid upwards of $14,0000 for two games a week over ten weeks, with no refunds being offered.