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Ford says fines for violating gathering limits in Ontario will be highest in Canada

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People in Ontario have been waiting to hear how gathering limits in the province might change in response to the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases, and though Premier Doug Ford hasn’t announced the big news yet, he did have a message for people who might flout the rule: you’ll be fined. Hard.

“There are going to be some severe severe fines for people who want to ignore the regulations and the guidelines… they’re going to be the highest in the country,” Ford said at his daily media briefing.

He added that the fines will fall under provincial jurisdiction, and not federal, “so we’ll make sure they’re followed through” — a bit of a jab at Prime Minister Trudeau, who Ford has mentioned hasn’t been following through with penalizing people for defying certain pandemic mandates.

The exact amount of the fine will be revealed either Thursday or Friday, when Ford is due to provide further details about the new socialization caps, which are expected to affect only the regions of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa.

The majority of daily new infections in the province — which broke into the 300s on Monday and again today — have consistently been centred in these three densely populated areas.

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Many residents have been demanding the province re-implement more stringent lockdown measures in these locales, including a full return to Stage 2 of reopening, which Toronto progressed out of back on July 31.

Of the 315 new infections announced in Ontario today, 77 are in Toronto, 54 in Peel and 61 in Ottawa. By comparison, 13 public health units reported five or fewer new cases, and another 12 reported none at all.

Officials are linking our surge to people socializing without abiding by safety measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing, particularly by younger people, who are comprising progressively more patients.

Ford has also publicly spoken out against large gatherings like weddings and backyard parties, at least one of which has been linked to a recent outbreak.

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