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York Region reverting to modified Stage 2 as COVID-19 cases increase

Last Updated Oct 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm EDT

Ontario Premier Doug Ford holds a press conference with his medical team regarding new restrictions at Queen's Park during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Friday, October 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Ford government has announced that York Region will join Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa as the latest district to revert back to modified Stage 2 restrictions.

The government says these modified Stage 2 restrictions will be enforced for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed afterwards.

The new guidelines will become effective starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 and include restricting indoor dining and closing indoor gyms, casinos, cinemas, and interactive exhibits.

“The indicators are going in the wrong direction,” Ford said.

“We’re seeing a rapid increase in the rate of infection with the positivity rate of 2.77 per cent, above the high alert threshold of 2.5 per cent. Cases per 100,000 in York are now nearly 39; well, well above the provincial average,” the Premier added.

 

What will close:

  • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (yoga studios, dance studios)

 

  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments

 

  • Cinemas

 

  • Performing arts centres and venues

 

  • Spectator areas in racing venues

 

  • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums,
    galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.

 

  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service

 

 

Ford and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, both acknowledge the decision did not come easy.

“We need to act now,” Elliott said on Friday.

Elliot says infection rates in York are going in the wrong direction and that we need to act fast after a jump in the numbers, adding this is about preventing something much worse down the road.

“I say this as a member from York Region, however, this is how fast this pandemic is progressing through its second wave,” Elliott added.

Prior to Friday’s announcement, Ontario’s Premier said York has been “teetering”, going on to say the region’s trajectory has been concerning for government and health officials.

York Region saw a substantial increase of 127 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, but reported a drop on Friday, with 62 new cases.

Halton – another region that could eventually rejoin York, Peel, Toronto, and Ottawa in Stage 2 – reported 46 new COVID-19 cases today; up from 28 new infections logged on Thursday.

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