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Ontario expected to release guidelines for holiday celebrations

Last Updated Nov 25, 2020 at 9:07 am EST

An illuminated Christmas tree at Commerce Court in Toronto on Dec. 5, 2015. 680 NEWS/Diana Pereira.

The holiday season inches closer and closer as Ontario continues to grapple with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario is set to unveil its guidelines for holiday celebrations on Wednesday, exactly one month from Christmas day.

Toronto and Peel Region entered the ‘lockdown’ stage of the province’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday, and those restrictions will be in place until at least Dec. 21.

The restrictions mean a ban on all indoor gatherings with anyone outside of the same household. All restaurants and bars are limited to takeout or delivery.

The province’s top doctor says it’s unlikely these restrictions would be lifted before Christmas day. Chief Medical Officer David Williams says he can’t see a path where the situation would improve enough to warrant moving to Toronto or Peel down a level and back into the ‘red zone’ of the provinces framework.

“We would be surprised to see if we are out of this in four weeks. Seemingly unlikely at this time, we’re going to have to be logical about it.”

Health officials warn if people don’t heed the warnings and gather as usual over the holidays, it could mean yet another sharp spike in cases heading into the new year.

Red zone restrictions permit indoor gatherings with a limit of five people. Hamilton, Durham, Halton, York and Waterloo are all currently in the red zone.

The most recent projections from the province shows Ontario is on pace for 6,500 new cases a day by the middle of December. New projections are expected to be released on Thursday which should offer some light on whether the new restrictions have had the intended effect.

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