TORONTO -- Residents in Ontario will no longer be permitted to gather in groups of more than five people, according to an emergency order enacted by the premier.

The order comes about two weeks after the province declared a state of emergency and banned public events of over 50 people.

"If we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 now and keep our communities safe, we need to take extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing," Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

"I strongly encourage everyone to do the responsible thing and stay home unless absolutely necessary. I can assure everyone that we will do everything in our power to stop this virus in its tracks."

There is an exception for private households with five or more people, the order clarifies. It also will not apply to child care centres helping frontline health care workers and first responders. However, the province said that each centre must not exceed 50 people.

Those gathering for a funeral will be able to proceed “with up to 10 people at one time,” the province said.

The order applies to social gatherings and public events such as weddings and communal services at places of worship.