Wedding licence numbers have plummeted across the country as couples postponed marriage due to COVID-19 limitations. eff and Karley Durocher kept their wedding date, getting married in an intimate ceremony in Killarney, National Park in northern Ontario rather than the 130-guest celebration they had originally planned. (Photo by Amanda Thirkill via CBC)

Ontario easing restrictions on weddings, funerals

These are two events in people’s lives which normally bring family and friends together in shared and greatly emotional occasions of either joy or sorrow.  But with the arrival of COVID-19 and the emergency lockdowns, these important shared  moments have been severely restricted. Whereas many marriages have been postponed, being unable to attend funerals has caused great distress.

On Saturday Canada’s most populous province announced it will begin easing restrictions on these milestone eventsin recognition of the importance of being with loved ones during the moments that matter most”, according to a government website statement.

Weddings that have been taking place across the country under provincial emergency health restrictions are much different than typical, with very limited presence and social distancing rules, such as the one in Edmonton’s Foundry Room hosting weddings with a maximum of 10 guests. (April 25,2020 . Ontario has just eased restrictions for ceremonies like this to 30% of venue capacity. Receptions though are still limited to 10 people (Deanna Caroline Photography via CBC)

“With recent progress to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are able to ease restrictions on these special ceremonies,” said Christine Elliott,  Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We have taken deliberate steps to increase testing and increase our ability to track and contain this virus. As we loosen these measures, I strongly urge everyone to remain careful and cautious as we are all still at risk.”

Elliot also tweeted on Saturday that with seven straight days of fewer than 300 positive infections reported each day that although there may be upticks in cases some days due to increased testing, “What matters most are trends, which continue to show Ontario on a downward trajectory”.

Note: The number of tests performed does not reflect the number of specimens or persons tested. More than one
test may be performed per specimen or per person. As such, the percentage of tests that were positive does not
necessarily translate to the number of specimens or persons testing positive.
Data Source: The Provincial COVID-19 Diagnostics Network, data reported by member microbiology laboratories. ( Ontario Ministry of Health Jun 14, 2020)

The new regulations allow indoor events to be held at up to 30 percent of the venue capacity, while outdoor segments are limited to 50 people and in all cases ‘social distancing’ rules should be followed for those not part of an immediate household or close social circle.

The rules pertain only to ceremonies however, receptions are still limited to 10 people, which is up from a previous limit of five for gatherings.

The new social circle rule enables a 10-person group to be formed of family members who live together, and extended to other family members or close personal friends up to a limit of 10 people. It states that people should not be members of more than one social circle.

Following a huge crowd who come out to enjoy the sunshine in May at a park in Toronto, the city copied an American idea and painted circles on the gress to indicate social distance areas to be maintained which police were sent to enforce (Kate Cornick/CBC)

Currently Ontario has 110 people in intensive care related to COVID-19, out of 489 confirmed cases.  Of the just under 32,000 confirmed cases that have been confirmed in the province since testing began, 83 per cent are listed as recovered.

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