The Province of Ontario announced they are immediately prohibiting gatherings of five people or more, with strict exceptions.
Provincial officials said in a press release, issued at 9:21 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2020, they are taking immediate and decisive action to further stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians
Based on the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately, Provincial officials say.
This order would not apply to private households with five people or more.
It would also not apply to operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.
Funerals would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time, Provincial officials added.
“If we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 now and keep our communities safe, we need to take extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing,” stated Premier Doug Ford, in a press release.
“I strongly encourage everyone to do the responsible thing and stay home unless absolutely necessary. I can assure everyone that we will do everything in our power to stop this virus in its tracks.”
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said the Province is acting on the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province.
“These are extraordinary times that demand extraordinary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our people,” Elliott stated.
“Nothing is more important.”
Provincial officials say organized public events include parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship.
This order replaces a previous emergency order which prohibits organized public events of over 50 people.
Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency on March 17, 2020 and has issued orders to close non-essential workplaces, recreational programs, libraries, publicly funded schools, private schools, daycares, provincial parks, churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that may only offer takeout or delivery.
Essential services, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, public transit, manufacturing facilities, and supply chain companies remain open and operational.
Provincial officials say everyone in Ontario should be practicing physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people.
Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, Provincial officials stated.
They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
Take everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health: wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.