York Region rolled back to a modified Stage 2

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At an Oct. 16 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the York Region (Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Whitechurch-Stouffville, East Gwillimbury, Aurora, Georgina and King) will be rolled back to a modified Stage 2, effective Monday, Oct. 19.

The news comes one week after the province rolled Toronto, Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Ottawa back in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases. 

The rollback is expected to last at least 28 days. 

Although there was some speculation that the Halton Region would be rolled back as well, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that the province is still watching the region closely but does not plan to close more businesses in the area at this time. 

Today, Ontario reported 712 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with nine new deaths related to the novel coronavirus. Elliott said that 213 of the new cases are in Toronto, 135 are in Peel Region, 108 are in Ottawa and 62 are in York Region.

At the press conference, Ford said the province decided to rollback York due to a "concerning" rise in cases and possible negative impacts on hospital capacity. 

Starting Oct. 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., the following measures will be in place in the York Region:

  • Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;

  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;

  • Closing of:

    • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);

    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;

    • Indoor cinemas;

    • Performing arts centres and venues;

    • Spectator areas in racing venues;

    • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;

    • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming)

  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);

  • Reducing the capacity limits for:

    • Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors

    • Real estate open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.

    • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.

    • Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and

  • Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).

Schools, child care centres, dental offices and places of worship will remain open. Before-school and after-school programs will also be exempt from these new restrictions.

Retail stores and indoor shopping malls and centres can also remain open at this time. 

The province is urging people in hotspot communities to avoid businesses in Stage 3 regions.

With files from The Canadian Press

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