In response to the recent increases in case numbers, the government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Area in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 to lower the size of permitted private or unmonitored social gatherings in select Public Health Units.
Private or unmonitored social gatherings in Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa are now limited to the following:
- 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
- 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
These changes came into effect on September 18 at 12:01am and were announced alongside proposed amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 that would bring harsher penalties into force for the attendees and organizers of illegal private or unmonitored social gatherings. If passed, it will create:
A new offence regarding hosting or organizing a gathering in residential premises or other prescribed premises that exceeds limits under an order
A minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of these gatherings
Authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe additional types of premises for the purpose of the new offence.
Authority for a police officer, special constable or First Nations constable to order the temporary closure of a premise where there are reasonable grounds to believe that any gathering exceeding the number of people allowed is taking place and require individuals to leave the premises.
All orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 have been extended to stay in force until October 22, 2020.