The provincial government set new lower limits September 18 on the number of people who can attend private parties or organized public events as part of an effort to curb the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Those limits were just for the Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel health regions, which have seen serious increases in their case numbers, but as of the September 19 weekend the limits will apply to all of Ontario.
“I support the province’s decision to lower the limits on social gatherings,” stated Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU). “The number of COVID-19 cases across our area, and the province, has been rising steadily over the past few weeks, and it’s mostly due to a minority of people breaking the (pandemic protection) rules during private social gatherings.”
The new limits for private parties or other types of social events are now 10 for indoor events and 25 for outdoor events. Organizers of events cannot try to combine indoor and outdoor gatherings at the same location for an increased limit.
These lower limits apply just to unmonitored private parties and public events like barbecues or wedding receptions held in homes or backyards, and public events held at parks and other recreational sites. Organizers of these private events who fail to make sure people attending follow the public help rules against COVID-19 may face fines, if convicted, starting at $10,000.
The new size limits do not apply to gatherings held in locations where there are staff to monitor participants and make sure they obey the rules for masks, social distancing, and public hygiene. That includes locations like bars, restaurants, theatres, banquet halls and convention centres, gyms, churches, synagogues, and temples, and recreational sports and performing arts events. The original limits of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors apply to these venues.