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Tougher gathering restrictions imposed as new COVID cases surge

Ontario is putting a pause on social circles, asking people across the entire province to now only come in close contact with those inside their household as COVID-19 cases spike to unprecedented levels.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Friday, while declaring new restrictions for certain businesses in COVID-19 hotspots.

As of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Ottawa and Peel Region must limit capacity to 100. Toronto Public Health has already decided to limit capacities to 75.

There is now a maximum of six people allowed per table and each customer’s contact information must be collected for contact tracing.

For gyms and fitness centres in the three hotspots, group exercise classes will now be limited to 10 people and the facility must limit its capacity to 50 people.

Banquet halls and event spaces must limit six people per table and have no more than 50 people in the facility at a time.

Ontario has also pressed pause on any further reopenings for the next 28 days.

The government has also implemented a province-wide mandatory mask order for indoor pubic setting, including businesses, facilities and workplaces.

Prior to Friday’s announcement, Ontario residents were allowed to create 10-person social circles, including those who did not live in their household.

The province is trying to reduce the testing backlog that has currently grown to 90,000. Matt Anderson, the head of Ontario Health discussed the measures his office is taking to deduce the logjam.

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