Start making those (tentative) plans! Restrictions on group gatherings might be easing up in the province. Health Minister Christine Elliott spoke alongside Premier Doug Ford on May 15 during the daily COVID-19 in Ontario briefing and shared that the cap size for meet-ups could be raised from 5 to 10 as early as next week.

In the provincial press briefing on Friday, Ford and Co. were asked whether limits on groups could be eased as provincial reopenings continue.

Elliott explained that the province is already looking into potentially increasing the group size from five to 10. She says an announcement should be expected next week.

"That is something that we are studying very closely right now, the idea of bubbling, increasing the numbers because I know that people are wanting to spend more time with family and friends," said Elliott while speaking to reporters.

"So the Chief Medical Officer of Health is giving that very serious consideration and you can expect to hear from us next week on that issue.

"With the warmer weather coming, I know people will want to be getting together for barbecues and other occasions so we are looking at the safest and healthiest way in order to do that," concluded Elliott.

Gatherings of more than five people have been expressly forbidden in Ontario since March 28, with some strict exceptions.

Easing those restrictions would likely be seen as one of the biggest moves so far in the early attempts to get the province back up and running.

But it might be too soon to start making solid plans.

It's currently unclear whether next week's announcement will confirm this move.

During yesterday's briefing, Ford urged the public to wait on visiting friends and family since restrictions will still be in place for the time being.

For now, though, we can certainly hope!

The Ford government also confirmed this week that Ontario is now in stage one of its reopening phase.

That's particularly great news for sports lovers, as Ford unveiled the reopening of golf courses, marinas, and even a few outdoor activities like tennis. But you won't be able to get a haircut anytime soon.

Naturally, all the loosened restrictions come with a strict provision that physical distancing measures continue to be followed.

So, even if you're able to meet up with nine others starting next week, that doesn't mean health practices should go out the window.

Ford admitted this week that he broke Ontario's social distancing rules recently. He said he invited his daughters over at his home on Mother's Day weekend.

"I know I had one of my daughters over too, and I got in trouble for that, but for months we never saw them," he said.

Following his confession, Health Minister Christine Elliott reminded the public that it's never been more important to follow the rules.

"To ensure these early steps are a success, its never been more important for the public to adheres to public health guidelines including avoiding contact with others outside of your household and maintaining at least two metres between yourself and others," she said.

Still, though, maybe we'll get some kind of social summer after all.

 

 

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