Ford Extends Stay At Home Order

By: Laura Steiner
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended the province’s Stay-at-home order until May 19, 2021.  They’ve also introduced a strengthened list of restrictions.
“As the latest modelling confirms, without taking immediate and decisive action COVID-19 cases will spiral out of control and our hospitals will be overwhelmed,” Ford said.  The latest COVID-19 projections indicated the province could see as high as 18,000 cases per day within the next month, if nothing was done.  Officials also indicated the province could see over 5,000 cases as early as tomorrow.
The province has also introduced an emergency order granting police officers, and bylaw enforcement officers with additional authority to support it.  “This is a critical moment in Ontario’s response to this deadly virus, that’s why we are doing whatever it takes to stop the spread and protect our communities,” Solicitor Effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday police, and “other officers” will have the authority to ask residents for their home address, and their reason for being out.
The province expects residents to remain at home except for essential trips such as access healthcare services, pharmacy, outdoor exercise or work that cannot be done remotely. Ontario’s borders with Quebec, and Manitoba will be closed starting April 19, 2021.  “This is a critical moment in Ontario’s response to this deadly virus, that’s why we are doing whatever it takes to stop the spread, and protect our communities,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. Failing to comply with restrictions could result in a minimum fine of $750.  Obstructing an officer from enforcing or complying with an order could be fined $1,000.  Anyone hosting gatherings in violation face a potential fine of $10,000 on conviction.
The Ontario Provincial Police will be patrolling both border areas.  Exceptions are: work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services, and exercising  Aboriginal treaty rights.  “The rising spread of variants means we  must take stronger measures to limit transmission and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. The latest  modelling presented earlier today, indicated a 51% growth in ICU occupancy over the last two weeks.  Halton Region Hospitals house a confirmed 32 cases of COVID-19 in Intensive Care Units.
The province also added the following restrictions as of April 17 at 12:01 a.m.

  • Prohibit all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household;
  • Close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector;
  • Reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and,
  • Close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds with limited exceptions.

Capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services will be limited to 10 people indoors as of April 19, 2021.  Social gatherings associated with those services will be prohibited as of the same date.  Drive-in services will be permitted.
On the vaccination front, the province also committed to dedicating 25% of future allocations to areas with ‘historic ongoing high rates of death, hospitalization and COVID-19 transmission.’  “By staying at home and limiting travel for essential purposes only, such as getting groceries or going to a medical appointment or to get vaccinated, we can reduce mobility and help interrupt transmission of this virus,” Ontario Chief Medical Officer of health Dr. David Williams said.