Gatherings capped at five people in Ontario; premier announces new penalties for price-gouging

Premier Doug Ford gives his daily media briefing on the COVID-19 situation, on March 28.

TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford announced Saturday that the cap on “non-essential” gatherings of people has been dropped to just five.

The precipitous decrease from the previous mark of 50 people took effect Sunday, as the province continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis.

The premier also announced new fines for price-gouging related to the sale of face masks, protective gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes and cough medicines. “If you’re out there … trying to take advantage of the most vulnerable people right now, buying cases of essential goods, hiking the price and selling it back to people who really need it, then stop, stop right now … because today we’re putting an end to it,” declared Ford, saying that cabinet had approved hefty fines and jail time for those convicted of price gouging in those items. “You’re done, you’re gone because we’re coming after you,” he said of those engaged in the “disgusting activity.”

On the flipside, Ford lauded a small Rexdale, Ontario, company — Contract Packaging — for switching their production over to reasonably-priced hand sanitizer. “What an incredible story; I’m getting chills telling you about it. You see a family working around the clock putting together hand sanitizer.”

“These are the companies that pitch in, help out … I could tell you story after story after story.”

A number of distillers in the province have temporarily converted from booze to hand sanitizer. And Eastern Ontario firms have made waves in the field recently, including Dairy Distillery of Almonte and King’s Lock Craft Distillery west of Johnstown.



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