As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in the city, Mayor Jim Watson is calling for a crackdown. He wants to lower Ottawa’s indoor gathering limit to 10 people and is calling for the outdoor limit to be reduced to just 20. “We're not fooling around,” he said.
As Ottawa’s number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike, the mayor is proposing a new set of rules that he hopes will flatten the curve.
Speaking to Newstalk 580 CFRA on Tuesday, per CTV News, Watson suggested that social gatherings were to blame for the significant climb in cases in Ottawa, and beyond.
With that in mind, he’s calling for a crackdown on the current provincial rules, which allow 50 people to socialize indoors in a private residence and double that outdoors.
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“Unless you own a mansion, 50 people is really crammed, as is 100 people in the backyard," he said.
Watson said the current limit assumes that physical space will prevent people from gathering in such large numbers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
"People seem to think, 'I'm allowed to have 100 people, I'll invite 100 people over,' and the virus spreads quickly in those close quarters," he added.
Instead, Ottawa's mayor wants a limit of 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors at private gatherings.
Today’s numbers are concerning and they are a stark reminder that we must stick to the #COVIDwise basics: ✅ Wear a… https://t.co/KwwE7RIPB0— Jim Watson (@Jim Watson) 1600096001.0
This latest crackdown wouldn't apply to businesses such as restaurants and gyms, because they have been complying with the current rules, explained Watson.
When it comes to those who are breaking the rules, the time for leniency is over, he added.
“They're going to receive a ticket and it's going to hit them hard in the pocketbook. We're not fooling around.”
Good and productive call with @fordnation on a wide range of COVID-19 and testing challenges as well as paramedic o… https://t.co/wSP3qIldBH— Jim Watson (@Jim Watson) 1600192598.0
Mayor Watson made his suggestions to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who is expected to make an announcement for the whole province this week.
While he’s not confirmed what action he'll be taking, Ford said that “everything is on the table” going forward.
This comes as COVID-19 cases continue to climb across Ontario, particularly in the Toronto, Peel and Ottawa regions.
As the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario surges, so are the lines and wait-times at local testing centres.
On Tuesday, Canada’s top doctors committed to improving testing capabilities nationwide.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative puposes only.