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York Region returns to modified stage 2 of pandemic restrictions

Friday, October 16, 2020 @ 3:11 PM | By John Schofield

Faced with rising new COVID-19 cases, the Ontario government is moving York Region back into “modified” stage 2 of public health restrictions for at least the next 28 days, one week after announcing the same reversal for Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a news conference that the testing positivity rate in York Region, on Toronto's northern border, is currently 2.77 per cent, which is above the “high alert” threshold of 2.5 per cent. 

The restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19, and will include a ban on indoor dining at restaurants and food courts, and the closure of indoor gyms and fitness centres, indoor movie theatres, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, as well as personal care services where face coverings must be removed. Interactive exhibits with a high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos and other venues must also be closed.

In addition, gathering limits have been reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. The capacity limits also apply to tour and guide services, real estate open houses, in-person teaching and instruction, and meeting and event spaces. Team sports are limited to training sessions only.

Schools, child-care centres, before- and after-school programs, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology and private career colleges will remain open and are exempt from the gathering limits, but must follow public health guidelines. Places of worship will also remain open.

Ontario reported 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Oct. 16, the fifth straight day that numbers surpassed 700. Toronto accounted for most of them, with 213 cases, followed by Peel Region with 135, Ottawa with 108 and York Region with 62.

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