Greater Toronto Hockey League on pause until new year amid surging COVID-19 case numbers


A major Ontario youth hockey organization has suspended its activities for the rest of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greater Toronto Hockey League says it's pausing all official activities until at least Jan. 1, 2021, as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to soar in Ontario's most populous city.

The league says it's acting on the advice of Toronto's medical officer of health, who has been pushing the provincial government to take stronger action to curb the spread of the virus.

Dr. Eileen de Villa has called on the province to prohibit all indoor sporting activities, among other measures.

Ontario has tightened some public health restrictions as COVID-19 case counts rise to levels not seen since the spring, but de Villa says more forceful action is necessary to bring the numbers under control.

The league was poised to begin its season on Oct. 7, but President Don West says the current case load in the city makes play unsafe for all.

"There are no easy answers during a pandemic,"" West said in a statement. "GTHL organizational volunteers and staff have been working hard at creating the safest possible environment but given the current situation, it is time for us to pause for the safety of the players and their families."

Toronto is one of three provincial hot spots where stricter public health measures took effect on Saturday, including lower limits on patrons inside bars and restaurants. The same restrictions were introduced in neighbouring Peel region as well as Ottawa.

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