Published Friday, October 9, 2020 6:34AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 9, 2020 4:21PM EDT
The new public health restrictions, which were announced by the province on Monday afternoon, come into effect in the three regions on Saturday at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place for 28 days.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus in the three areas, which have seen a massive surge in new infections over the past two weeks, the province is also closing casinos, bingo halls and conference and convention centres.
““I can’t stress enough how difficult and painful it was to make this decision. My heart just breaks for these folks and I understand what this decision means to each and every one of you,” Premier Doug Ford said during a news conference on Friday afternoon. “I can tell you I didn’t sleep last night. This weighs heavy on me.”
Officials in Toronto, including Mayor John Tory and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, have been lobbying the province to ban indoor dining at bars and restaurants since last Friday but Ford initially resisted, telling reporters earlier this week that he needed “hard evidence” before taking “someone’s livelihood away from them.”
On Friday, however, Ford told reporters that he has now seen that evidence and believes that action to cur the further spread of the virus is necessary.
He said that if he didn’t act now, he would be “negligent.”
“All trends are going in the wrong direction. Left unchecked we risk the worst case scenarios first seen in Italy and New York City (in the spring),” he warned.
Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said the decision to close indoor dining should have been made ages ago.
"A delay was never needed, Doug Ford should have acted weeks ago but instead, he has lost control and is now scrambling," he said in a statement.
Some personal care services also banned
As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, wedding receptions in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region will be subject to the new gathering rules of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
Interactive exhibits or exhibits with a high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, and landmarks will also be closed.
Food courts in shopping centres can remain open but will be available for take-out only.
Personal care services where face coverings must be removed have also been suspended for the next month.
Schools and places of worship will remain open in the impacted communities.
Ontarians in all regions are also being encouraged to only travel to other parts of the province for essential purposes and limit trips outside of the home.