TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s most populous province is prohibiting indoor dining in restaurants and bars in Toronto and Ottawa and closing gyms and theaters as Ontario marked a record 939 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday.
The Ontario government said the measures will go into effect on Saturday and be in place for at least 28 days. The Peel region just outside of Toronto will also see the new restrictions.
The government is asking people in those areas to leave their homes only for essential purposes. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said if current trends continue, the province could experience “worst-case scenarios” seen in northern Italy and New York City earlier in the pandemic.
“If I didn’t make this decision now, I would be negligent,” Ford said. “I know what this will do to businesses who are already struggling.”
Ford said the pandemic has picked up speed and is extremely serious, just three days after he said Ontario was flattening the epidemic curve.
Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the measures would not have been necessary if more people had followed public health guidelines and worn masks and socially distanced.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19.