Ontario clamps down on private parties across the province

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Premier Doug Ford is restricting the number of people at private events across Ontario as the province registered another 407 cases of COVID-19.

Starting today, you cannot have a private gathering inside with more than 10 people or 25 people outdoors.

Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the changes this morning in a news conference.

“The alarm bells are ringing,” says Ford. “We cannot carry on as if things are normal – they aren’t.”

Ford says public health says the latest increase in cases is directly linked to private social gatherings. “We can’t have these wild parties right now; it is way, way to risky.”

Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe says while she didn’t know exactly the percentage of cases linked to parties, but she says this is a preventative measure. “It’s an increasing trend and that’s why we’re trying to stop it.”

The restriction is for 28 days.

Yaffe added some people really don’t understand what a social gathering should look like. With your social circle of up to 10 people, you can spend time together in close contact without masks, she says. But anyone else, Yaffe says, people must still keep their distance, wash their hands and wear a mask if they can’t. And that includes private social gatherings.

Ford added the province understand as there are more cases the need for testing soars – yesterday there were over 39,000 tests – there is a need for more centres. The province has opened 10 new “pop-up” centres in some of the hardest hit areas – Toronto, Peel and Ottawa – and is extending hours in existing centres.

He adds the province hopes to have deals to open testing in pharmacies in the next couple of days.

Elliott says the province is working to increase lab capacity to make sure test results are getting back to people quickly.

There have been no new cases in Lambton today and there have been just four so far in September. The last new case was a week ago.