Markham mayor says Ford should expand new gathering limits to York Region
Published Friday, September 18, 2020 12:03AM EDT
Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti says Premier Doug Ford should expand the government's new limits on social gathering sizes to the York Region.
“[Ford] did the right thing but didn’t cast the net far and wide enough and he should have included York Region,” Scarpitti told CP24 on Thursday evening.
The provincial government announced on Thursday that it will be reducing the size of gatherings in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa back down to 10 people inside and 25 outside following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the three regions.
Currently under Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, 100 people are allowed to gather outdoors and 50 can gather indoors.
The new rules take effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m.
But Scarpitti argues that with the new rules in place many people will flock to the York Region to host and attend gatherings there.
“...I think we are left vulnerable here not only because we have a different standard now but also it’s a bit of an opportunity for people whether it’s their relative, their friend or even rent short-term accommodations and rentals where people will be holding parties in our area because they know the standards aren’t as strict,” Scarpitti said.
Scarpitti noted that he along with others mayors in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area expressed their concerns about gathering sizes in a meeting earlier this week.
He said he has expressed his desire to cut gathering sizes in the York Region to the premier and that Markham’s medical officer of health has relayed the same message to provincial health officials.
“Our medical officer of health was sharing data with the provincial medical officer of health, was asking for this to be done and quite honestly we were looking at doing this locally. The legal ramifications are a little tougher with this one because of private residents and so the premier acknowledged today that the province needed to step in.”
York Region reported 37 new cases of the virus on both Thursday and Wednesday and 22 new cases on Tuesday.
Scarpitti said he’s hopeful that Ford will extend the new rules to the York Region in the coming days.
“Today we weren’t on the list and I’m hoping tomorrow we are on the list,” he said.