Most of Ontario’s hot spots had less stringent health measures on Saturday according to the terms of the tiered assessment system that classifies regions as red, orange, yellow or green.
Health restrictions in red zones include limiting indoor dining capacity and gyms to 10 patrons.
The top doctor in Peel Region, the only public health unit currently classified as red, said those limits would not go far enough to stop the virus’s spread.
“It is time to shrink our lives to stop COVID-19 from growing completely out of control,” Dr. Lawrence Loh said in a written statement. “These directives are strict, but they are what is needed to keep people in Peel working and learning, and able to access food, medical care and the basics of everyday life.”
Loh said the region’s indicators are heading in the wrong direction, and swift action is needed.
“Residents of Peel must restrict their contact to members of their household and essential supports only. Those that live alone may join one designated household,” the public health unit said.
Residents should not invite members of other households into their homes or yards, unless there’s an emergency.
The region is barring wedding receptions “and associated gatherings” starting on Nov. 13 and lasting until at least Jan. 7, 2021.
“Social gatherings celebrating holidays and life events in business establishments” will be banned on the same day, while religious services and rites will be urged to go online if possible.
In-person religious events, including wedding ceremonies and funerals, must reduce indoor capacity to 30 per cent, with a maximum of 50 people per facility.
Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls, must also close.
And workplaces have to prohibit all non-essential visitors and make work-from-home options available as much as possible.
The orange level of the new provincial system limits bars and restaurants to 50 people indoors, with no more than four seated together.
Health officials in Peel had asked that the region remain under a modified Stage 2 — the restriction classification system previously used by the government — which involves more stringent rules such as a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars.
But the province rejected that request, instead classifying it as a red zone.
— With files from Ryan Rocca