In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, Toronto, Canada’s largest city, will go back into lockdown for 28 days, announced Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday, November 20. The lockdown will be effective Monday onwards and will include restrictions in the city and Peel, a part of the Greater Toronto to the west of the city center.
The restrictions mandate gyms, saloons, and casinos to remain closed. Retail stores will be open for curbside pickup only, and restaurants and bars will be solely able to provide takeaway. Wedding services, funerals, and religious ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained indoors or outdoors will be limited to no more than ten people. However, pharmacies and groceries will run at 50 percent capacity, and schools will remain open. Other parts of the province will also move to higher levels of restrictions on Monday but will avoid a full lockdown.
“We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into lockdown level restrictions….With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care, and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” said Doug Ford. He also urged people to buy locally to support businesses that are likely to be hit hard heading into Christmas and a normally busy holiday season. Canada has registered 317,000 coronavirus cases along with 11,273 fatalities so far, and figures have been rising in the past seven days, with 4,800 daily cases and 65 deaths. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already warned that daily cases could rise to 60,000 by the end of December. More than 1,400 new coronavirus cases were reported in Ontario on Friday, taking the province’s number of cases since the start of the pandemic beyond 100,000. Toronto has been particularly badly hit, with the city breaking its record for new infections on Tuesday and reporting several hundred new cases each day this week.