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People wait in line at a COVID-19 assessment centre at Mount Sinai Hospital, in Toronto, on Sept. 24, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Ontario is reporting 583 new cases of COVID-19 today, and one new death due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 173 cases are in Toronto, 121 in Ottawa, 75 in York Region, and 70 in Peel Region.

Elliott says 60 per cent of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.

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The province says it has a backlog of 55,413 tests, and has conducted 43,277 tests since the last daily report.

It’s also reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 69 among students.

That brings the number of schools with a reported case to 379 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

Meanwhile, Ontario is set to make a pandemic measure that allowed restaurants and bars to deliver alcohol permanent.

Associate Minister of Small Business Prabmeet Sarkaria said the government is exploring ways to change laws surrounding the delivery of alcohol before they expire at the end of the year.

The change is part of new legislation that will be introduced later Wednesday to help small businesses that have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarkaria said the bill will also make temporary measures that allowed 24-hour delivery to pharmacies and grocery stores permanent.

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The government said it will provide grants of up to $1,000 for small businesses to buy personal protective equipment.

The grants will be available to businesses with fewer than 10 employees and can also be used to make pandemic-related safety changes such as installing Plexiglas barriers.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam are pleading with Canadians to limit their turkey time only to the people you live with this year. Tam says being with friends and family can be comforting but this year it is just not safe. The Canadian Press

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