Published Mar 16, 2020Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam is recommending today that all residents avoid attending gatherings more than 50 people due to coronavirus.
While last week health officials banned events of over 250 people, that number has now been drastically reduced to 50, with Tam urging all Canadians to further amplify their social distancing.
"Globally there are now over 175,000 COVID-19 cases in over 160 countries," Tam said at a news conference earlier today. "There continues to be a concerning increase in cases in reported in Canada in the last few days."
She added, "All Canadians must act now to take all precautions and practice social distancing in order to interrupt chains of transmission, to delay and suppress the epidemic curve of COVID-19."
Already, many provinces are embracing the recommendation of no longer allowing gatherings of more than 50 people. British Columbia is now banning gatherings over 50 people outright, while Quebec is ordering all recreational spaces — including movie theatres, music venues and nightclubs — to close while bars and restaurants are asked not to serve more than 50 percent of their seating capacity.
Ontario is similarly requesting all gatherings over 50 people be cancelled, while public spaces such as libraries, gyms and community centres are quickly closing themselves off from the public around the country.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is encouraging all bars and restaurants limit themselves to takeout and delivery only and said all nightclubs, music venues and movie theatres should close. She also added that businesses who don't follow the recommendation could face fines under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
"In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 I'm also strongly recommending that all nightclubs, movie theatres and concert venues close as soon as possible," she said. "Businesses who choose to defy these recommendations may be subject to orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act."
This news in Canada comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the same recommendation for U.S. citizens.
"Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travellers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities," the CDC writes. "This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus."
You can see Exclaim!'s ongoing list of cancelled and postponed film and music events in Canada over here.