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Don't make plans for that garage, yard sale just yet, Newmarket

Such activities could contribute to COVID-19 spread, run afoul of social gatherings order, town says
yard sale

Many Newmarket residents have been clearing out the clutter since staying at home as much as possible to halt the spread of COVID-19.

But don’t start planning that garage or yard sale just yet, as Ontario’s emergency order that prohibits public gatherings of more than five people is in effect until at least May 19, 2020.

Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce updates to its various orders today, May 14, which also include the nearly two-month-long closures of restaurant dining rooms, bars, theatres, playgrounds, and child care centres.

That provincial update may provide details on what the government’s first of a three-phase plan to cautiously reopen the economy could look like, as well as confirmation on for how long the emergency orders will be extended.

Ontario's state of emergency has already been extended to June 2.

As it stands, while the Town of Newmarket hasn’t outright banned garage or yard sales, it strongly discourages residents from such activities as they are believed to be a health and safety risk to attendees and the community at large given the current state and ability for the virus to spread.

“Based on the current limit of five people per gathering, the town discourages hosting or attending yard sales,” a spokesperson said. “Bylaw officers will continue to proactively monitor social gatherings and follow up on complaints based on the latest provincial order. As always, we’ll take an education-first approach and only take enforcement action when necessary to protect public health and safety.”

Town officials say it will continue to follow, educate and enforce the social gathering limits ordered by the province at this time. 

On March 27, Ontario granted municipal bylaw enforcement officers the ability to issue fines under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Failure to comply with the social gathering limits, for example, carries a starting fine of $750 up to a maximum of $100,000, and could also carry punishments up to a one-year imprisonment.