TORONTO – Effective immediately (January 12th) Ontario entered into a new State of Emergency and a Stay-at-Home order beginning January 14th has been issued.
“The situation is extremely serious. I just can’t stress this enough,” said Premier Doug Ford in making the announcements.
“The latest modelling data shows that Ontario is in a crisis and, with the current trends, our hospital ICUs will be overwhelmed in a few short weeks with unthinkable consequences.”
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. January 14th, a Stay-at-Home order will require everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes. Those include going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, exercise, or essential work.
The order is to limit people’s mobility and reducing daily contacts.
All businesses must have employees work from home if they are able to. Non-essential construction work is further restricted.
Retail stores like big-box stores that have been able to remain open during the current shutdown order and all non-essential retail stores that have offered curb side pick up can only operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Standalone grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants offering take-out and delivery service are exempt.
“The measures we are implementing are absolutely necessary,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.
Since the Boxing Day lock down began, the province has maintained a seven per cent test positivity rate and seen new infections average over 3,500 for the past week.
Ford said that provincial data modelling from the Science Advisory Table showed that one-third of all Ontarians are not following public health guidance including physical distancing and masking.
Under the new measures, outdoor organized activities are restricted to five people with limited exceptions like immediate family size.
Mask wearing is now recommended outdoors if a person cannot physically distance.
New enforcement measures are in place. Police, bylaw officers and provincial workplace inspectors can issue tickets to people who do not comply with the Stay-at-Home order or mask wearing indoors. Officers and inspectors can also temporarily close businesses if measures are not being followed.
“There are really dark days ahead,” Ford stated. “I need you all to do your part. The [health care] system is at the brink of collapse. Stay home, stay safe, save lives.”