Ontario says COVID restrictions won't be loosened for at least four weeks

 

At a Sept. 8 press conference, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said that residents should not expect COVID-19-related restrictions to be loosened for at least four weeks.

The announcement comes on the first day of school and on the same day that the province reported over 350 new cases over a two-day period. 

“Based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario will take four-week pause - or two, 14-day cycles of the virus - before considering any further loosening of public health measures or reopening additional businesses, facilities and organizations,” Elliott said, adding that residents should not expand their social bubbles or expect any large gatherings in the near future. 

At the press conference, Premier Doug Ford said he was especially concerned about case increases in Toronto, Brampton and Ottawa. When asked if there are plans to push those cities back into phase 2, he said the province “isn’t there yet,” but did not definitively say that renewed or additional restrictions in the municipalities are off the table. 

Ford said the local upticks are linked to large social gatherings and mentioned an incident in which 170 people, including an international traveller, converged upon a Muskoka cottage. 

At the press conference, Ford called on police to crack down on prohibited parties and gatherings. 

Elliott said community spread must be curbed in order to keep students, teachers and school staff members safe. 

“Taking a pause in further re-opening will help avoid broad-scale closures and shutdowns. And on the first day of school for many students, we need to do everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Elliott tweeted after the press conference.

“The best way to keep our schools safe is to keep our communities safe.”

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