Waterloo Region, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph ask province to lower gathering restriction sizes

Waterloo Region Public Health and the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit (WDGPHU) have joined other health regions in southern Ontario asking for the provincial government to lower the number of people allowed to come to gatherings.

Dr. Nicola Mercer, the region's Medical Officer of Health for WDGPHU, has asked the province to extend gathering restrictions to the area.

"Many border the current higher-risk areas with people travelling back and forth for work and other activities," an email from the health unit said in part.

Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu Li Wang has also made a request to the province to lower gathering sizes and is waiting for a response.

The Brant County Health Unit said it hasn't approached the province about reducing gathering sizes, but said it would "support any decision to do so, if done as part of a regional approach."

Ontario rolled back social gathering limits in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. The announcement was made on Thursday and the size restrictions came into effect on Friday. Premier Doug Ford said the restrictions don't apply to events or gatherings held in "staffed businesses" or theatres, banquet halls, gyms or convention centres.

In other regions, gatherings are capped at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Ford also said Friday that he plans to cut gathering sizes in other parts of the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The province reported 401 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest number of new cases since June 2.

"We're going to be rolling out other areas across the province," he said. "From the request of mayors – I never make a decision without the mayors and chief medical officers – I listen to the medical experts, I always have and always will."

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has asked the province to impose tighter restrictions after a recent spike in cases. Many of the cases are connected to an outbreak at Western University, where 39 students have tested positive for COVID-19.

With files from CTVNewsToronto.ca and CTVNewsLondon.ca