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Well, it's official, the Ford government has dropped their updated timeline for when restrictions will ease up in Ontario, and it's starting on Thursday.

As of February 17, at 12:01 a.m., a slew of public health measures will be lifted in Ontario, which will affect capacity limits and gathering sizes.

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World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is encouraging people to cancel their holiday plans and gatherings this year due to the spread of Omicron.

During a media briefing in Geneva on December 20, Ghebreyesus talked about how COVID-19 has been ravaging the world for the past two years, resulting in the deaths of 3.3 million people in 2021 alone.

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With Ontario currently in step three of the reopening plan, multiple gathering rules are still in place across the province.

According to Dufferin OPP, a massive gathering of over 1,500 people was broken up near Orangeville over the weekend after police received several noise complaints and reports of a large crowd.

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The third and final step of Ontario's reopening plan is poised to begin on Wednesday, July 21, three weeks after the start of step two.

Despite surpassing vaccination targets over a week ago to enter step three, Ontario's new top doctor Dr. Kieran Moore said it's unlikely that the reopening timeline will be moved up as the period in between steps is used to determine the impact of COVID-19 variants in hot spot regions. Premier Doug Ford, however, said that he wants to move forward with reopening "as quickly as possible."

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New "dedicated enforcement teams" are launching in all 16 Toronto Police Service divisions at 5 p.m. on Thursday in order to crack down on large gatherings in the city.

"Our divisional teams will focus on large gatherings that fail to comply with the emergency orders, with a particular focus on indoor gatherings such as parties at short-term rentals or at bars and restaurants,” said TPS Staff Superintendent Randy Carter in a press release announcing the change on Wednesday.

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