BREAKING: Mississauga to be rolled back to a modified Stage 2 in wake of rising COVID-19 cases

 

The Region of Peel, along with Toronto and Ottawa, will be rolled back to a modified version of Stage 2 in response to a surge in new cases of COVID-19.

On Oct. 9, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams announced that more restrictions will be implemented in Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon) in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

The announcement came hours after Ontario reported 939 new cases of COVID-19, marking a new high in daily counts of the virus. The majority of Friday's new cases were reported in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, as has consistently been the case in recent weeks.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said that 336 of the new cases were in Toronto, 150 in Peel Region and 126 in Ottawa. The province also reported five new deaths due to the virus.

The government said it has a backlog of 58,173 tests, and has conducted 44,914 tests since the last daily report.

Ontario also reported 56 new COVID-19 cases related to schools on Friday, including at least 32 among students. Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 429 out of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools.

At a news conference, Williams said that starting on Saturday, Oct. 10, indoor dining will be temporarily banned at all restaurants, bars, nightclubs, food courts and other food and drink establishments. Restaurants and food and drink establishments in the affected areas can still offer takeout, delivery and patio service. 

Williams also said the province is temporarily closing indoor gyms, fitness centres, casinos, bingo halls, movie theatres, indoor entertainment venues, personal care services that require the removal of masks or face-coverings and more.

Williams also said that tour and guide services will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The province said it has no plans to close schools, daycares and other childcare centres, dental clinics, salons and spas (which are temporarily prohibited from performing services that require mask removal), places of worship or open houses (although no more than 10 people will be allowed inside a house) at the moment. 

The province will also keep gathering limits at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Williams said that while people in hotspots are encouraged to stay in their communities, there are no plans to implement travel bans or restrictions at this time, adding that such bans were not in place even when Ontario was in full lockdown. 

When asked if Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh supports the closure of bars and indoor dining rooms, Williams said Loh agreed to the closures because of Peel’s proximity to Toronto and the possibility of Toronto residents travelling to the region to eat and drink indoors.

On Oct. 8, Loh said that most outbreaks in Peel have been tied to private social gatherings, weddings and other banquet hall events, workplaces and households with multiple residents. 

Williams said guidance on how to best celebrate Halloween, especially in the hardest-hit regions, will be made available in the coming days, adding that people should still feel free to decorate and perhaps make plans to drive through neighbourhoods to admire decor on Halloween night. 

The restrictions are expected to be in place for at least 28 days. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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