GTA mayors continue to urge young people to follow public health advice

Aug 21 2020, 1:35 pm

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area mayors are continuing to urge young people to follow public health advice, as COVID-19 cases are increasing is ages 39 and under.

On Friday, Toronto and many of the other GTHA municipalities met to discuss the age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases, which are continuing to shift to younger age groups.

“While younger cases have not been made severely ill by COVID-19 and are less likely to be hospitalized, they can still transmit the virus to others, especially to vulnerable groups,” the statement reads.

“We strongly encourage all residents, especially young people, to continue to follow the public health advice to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the progress we have made fighting this virus.”

The mayors pointed out that as the virus continues to spread, residents must adhere to public health advice to practice physical distancing, stay within their social circle of no more than 10 people, wash hands often, and wear a mask or face covering where mandatory or when physical distance cannot be maintained.

While there is no fine yet in Ontario for residents that do not follow public health’s advice, it’s a different story in BC.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said police and other provincial enforcement officers can now issue $2,000 fines for owners or organizers contravening the guidelines.

“These orders will help us put a stop to the selfish acts of a small minority of British Columbians who are threatening to erode the progress our province has made in controlling COVID-19,” said Farnworth during a press conference on Friday.

He added that police and enforcement officers also be able to issue $200 violation tickets to individuals not following the direction of police or enforcement staff at events or who refuse to comply with requests to follow PHO orders or safe operating procedures, or respond with abusive behaviour.

The enforcement focus will be on $2,000 fines to owners, operators, and organizers for contraventions of the BC’s rules on gatherings and events, Farnworth noted.

This includes hosting a private party or public event in excess of 50 people, failing to provide appropriate hand sanitation and washroom facilities, failing to provide sufficient space in the venue for physical distancing, failing to obtain a list of names and contacts at large events, or having more than five guests gathered in a vacation accommodation.

The new measures are effective immediately.

While there hasn’t been talk of issuing out fines yet in the GTA or Ontario at large, BC could be setting a precedent.

With files from Eric Zimmer. 

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