Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced this afternoon that his government is lowering the social gathering limits in three COVID-19 ‘hot spots.’ Effective tomorrow, gatherings in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa will be restricted and he intends to implement fines for those who violate these restrictions. Ford also said that he intends to introduce protections for residential tenants and small businesses.
Social Gathering Limits
Previously set at 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, the new limits will restrict social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. These measures are intended to be used in conjunction with other COVID-19 prevention measures such maintaining a distance of two metres from other people who are not in the ‘social circle’ and wearing masks or protective facial coverings.
The Premier has also introduced legislation for new fines against Ontarians who exceed the limit on these social gatherings. Calling those who ignore the guidelines on social gatherings “a few fries short of a Happy Meal,” the Premier said that the hosts of offending gatherings will be subject to a minimum fine of $10,000 and those attending a minimum fine of $750 — if the legislation is passed.
The Ontario government is also introducing a rent freeze for residential tenants and extending the eviction freeze for small businesses. If passed, the Act will freeze rent through 2021 for most residential units. The extension on the evictions for commercial tenants will continue to apply to businesses whose landlords did not apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) despite being eligible.