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Markham's Mayor Is Worried York Region Is About To Become Ontario's COVID-19 Hotspot

He states the community is "more vulnerable."
York Region's Gathering Limit Is Still The Same And A GTA Mayor Is Worried

One GTA mayor has voiced concern to Doug Ford. The mayor of Markham, Ontario thinks Ford should include York Region in the province's new gathering size limits. Frank Scarpitti announced on Thursday that he was disappointed that York Region's gathering limit hasn't been updated. 

On Thursday, the premier announced that Ontario would officially be slashing indoor and outdoor gathering sizes in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. 

The news comes after deliberation following massive backyard and house parties that have been taking place across Ontario. 

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However, York Region's exclusion is causing the mayor to speak out. 

In a news release, Frank Scarpitti applauded the provincial government's decision to reduce gatherings to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors. 

"However, I am disappointed and concerned that these new restrictions do not include York Region," says the statement. 

Markham's mayor went on to say that he is worried that the area, which borders Toronto and Peel, might become "another COVID-19 hotspot" as a result of the lax regulations. 

"Not only does this leave our community more vulnerable, but could also invite illegal gatherings in our backyard through short-term rental accommodations," he wrote. 

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for the area has actually requested even smaller gathering limits, according to the release.

Dr. Karim Kurji requested a limit of 20 people outdoors for York Region, while the provincial limit is currently at 25 outside. 

"I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone," Scarpitti wrote.

In fact, Markham's mayor tweeted that Dr. Kurji had asked the provincial government to be included in the reduced gathering limits before the final decision was made. 

"York Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kuriji had asked prior to announcement for York to have similar restrictions," Scarpitti wrote. 

Narcity has reached out to the Minister of Health's office, who have acknowledged the concern, but have noted York's case number aren't as high as some of the others.

"It doesn't surprise me that York might be considering that, and we haven't ruled in or out yet. It's just that their numbers have not yet been as significant as the others. But that has been rising up over the last week or so. And we're watching that very carefully, as we would do with other regions," said Dr. Williams.

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