03/13/2020 12:13 EDT

Ontario Becomes Latest Province To Warn Against Gatherings Over 250

B.C., Alberta and Quebec have already asked organizers to cancel large events.

Chris Young/Canadian Press
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams attends a news conference in Toronto on Jan. 27, 2020.

TORONTO — Ontario’s top public health official will recommend that any events with more than 250 people be put on hold due to COVID-19


The recommendation comes as award shows and sporting events are cancelled across Canada and Parliament suspends its proceedings in Ottawa. 

In a memo to be issued Friday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says organizers of smaller gatherings should consult with their local public health unit.

He also says all Ontarians should practice social distancing as much as possible to manage the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Other provinces have already recommended that large events be put on hold. 

The governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec made the same recommendation Thursday. 

It’s time to go into “emergency mode,” Quebec Premier François Legault said Thursday.

“I think the next few weeks will be critical, and it’s important we take measures to try not to have too many people contaminated.”

Ontario said Thursday that it would close public schools for the two-week period following March break to avoid spread of the virus as families return from vacations.

“It is an extraordinary time,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

With files from The Canadian Press