Ontario and Quebec limit the size of social gatherings

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

On September 19th, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that the number of people at social gatherings will once again be restricted. A day later, the Health Minister of Quebec, Christian Dubé, made a similar announcement.

In Ontario, the new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored social gathering is now 10 at indoor events, and 25 at outdoor events. The only exceptions to this rule are events and gatherings held in staffed businesses/facilities, including restaurants, places of worship, recreational sporting events, and other similar events.

Quebec is operating in a similar manner. The maximum number of people at a private gathering has been reduced to just 6 (unless it is a gathering between members of just 2 families). A maximum of 25 people can attend events like weddings or religious services.

Unlike Ontario, residents in Quebec operate within zones. The listed rules apply to residents in “orange zones” with a higher concentration of COVID-19 cases. In green and yellow zones, the max number of people within special events such as religious services is now 50.

These changes come in response to a spike in cases within the past couple weeks.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s health director, considers this a second wave, "I'm very, very, very worried by the situation, to the point where I consider that now we may be in a second wave, we're in a second wave at its beginning”. Between the two provinces, there is now over 1000 cases, with a substantial jump in new cases since Sunday.

The jump in cases has largely been among people under the age of 40, who are less likely to get seriously ill from the virus, and has not yet led to the healthcare system being overwhelmed.

Premier Ford said on Saturday, “Over the past several days, we have seen an alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province. Clearly, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. That's why we are taking decisive action to lower the size of unmonitored private social gatherings in every region of Ontario.”

For those who violate the instruction of the government in Ontario, heavy repercussions

will follow. Those who hold social gatherings over the set limitations can expect a minimum fine of $10,000.

As has been the advice given in the past 6 months; health officials encourage everyone to continue to wear masks in public, utilize discretion when in public areas, and maintain social distancing.

Continue to stay tuned to Public Health Announcements and media sources to receive information about new COVID-19 guidelines. If you are currently experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, click here to find the nearest assessment centre.

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