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Majority of province's 148 new COVID-19 cases are in Peel Region

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Officials are expressing concern as COVID-19 cases continue to rise ahead of the Labour Day long weekend — most notably in Peel Region which accounted for 72 of the 148 new cases confirmed by the province on Friday.

Toronto was second in most new cases with 41, followed by Ottawa with 13.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford singled out Peel Region with a warning ahead of Labour Day festivities.

“Folks in Peel, you can’t be out there having tonnes of people over with no face masks,” he said.

“Please don’t be out there going to these big parties.”

The City of Toronto is also taking measures to assure the long weekend doesn’t lure large crowds and further spread the deadly virus.

Parking at a number of Toronto beaches will be closed after 7 p.m. between Friday and Sunday and parks will close after midnight.

“We know that a lot of people are going down to the beach and we want to manage and make sure that people understand that we need to manage the crowds,” City spokesperson Brad Ross told CityNews on Thursday.

“We do not want to regress into a lockdown, we are seeing a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases … now more than ever is when we need to remember to continue to practice those fundamentals of public health through the pandemic.”