Introduction of Reduced Social Gathering Limits for Hotspot Regions
Today, the Ontario government announced it is reducing social gathering limits in Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa to combat the recent spike in cases in these regions. Effective tomorrow, September 18, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., social gatherings in these three regions will now be limited to 10 people for indoor gatherings and 25 people when outdoors. These restrictions apply to all unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events, including functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
The indoor and outdoor limit reduction does not apply to religious ceremonies in regulated venues and businesses such as stores, restaurants and wedding venues.
Since mid-July, the government had increased social gathering limits province-wide to allow 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Previously announced Stage 3 limits will remain in effect in all other regions of Ontario for the time being.
New measures include severe fines for anyone ignoring the public health guidelines and restrictions. The organizer of illegal gatherings will be subject to a minimum fine of $10,000, with individual participants subject to a $750 fine.
This announcement comes after a 14-week high in cases was hit earlier this week as 315 new COVID-19 infections were reported on Wednesday, September 16. Of these cases, 77 were reported in Toronto, 61 in Ottawa, and 54 in Peel. Other regions beginning to experience considerable upticks include York and Durham Regions.
Government Working to Help Residential and Commercial Tenants
The government also followed through today on its recent public commitment to assist residential and commercial tenants as the pandemic continues to impact Ontarians. Legislation was introduced today to freeze residential rent increases from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This freeze will apply to the vast majority of rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled units. The legislation also includes an expansion of the commercial eviction moratorium beyond September 1, 2020 as far as October 30, 2020.
As cases continue to climb and are accompanied with a mounting fear of a second wave, Counsel will continue to provide you with up to date information about provincial and national measures to address the pandemic.