Ontario Pulls Emergency Brake to Combat COVID19 Third Wave

By: Laura Steiner
The province of Ontario is pulling the Emergency Brake in its bid to slow the spread of COVID19.   The province will enter a 4-week long lockdown beginning Saturday April 3, at 12:01 a.m.
“I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals,” Ford said.  The announcement comes hours after the latest modelling indicates that spread is being driven by the UK variant with 60% of the cases over the last week.
Modelling shows younger Ontarians infected by the variants are at twice the risk of being admitted to ICU, and 1.5 times more likely to die.   “As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, the end is in s ight, but right now these necessary measures will help stop the spread of  variants in our communities, protect capacity in our healthcare system and save lives.  Ontario’s ICUs could hit 800 daily by April 30.
The Emergency brake includes the following seven restrictions:

  • Prohibition on indoor public events, and social gatherings.  Limiting capacity to a five-person minimum except for members of the same household.
  • Personal Care services will be closed
  • Restaurants will only be open for takeout and delivery.  Patios will be closed.
  • Fitness: Gyms will not be able to use indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness with limited exceptions
  • Day camps must close

Capacity Limits: 

  • Weddings, funerals, religious services, rites or ceremonies are reduced to 15% occupancy per room indoors.  Those attending must maintain two metres physical distance outdoors.  Receptions are not permitted indoors, and are limited to five people outdoors.
  • In-Person shopping: 50% capacity on supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets.  Big box stores are being limited to 25%

Schools will remain open.    “If there was room for a decision, schools would be last thing I’d close,  Co-Chair of the Ontario Science  Advisory Table Dr. Adalsteinn Brown said.  Experts believe that more harm could be done by keeping them closed.  Estimates say Canada has lost $1.6 trillion in GDP.
Ontario Small Business Grant Extended until April 7
The province has also extended the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.  The program detailed in last week’s budget is worth $3.4 billion, and consists of two rounds.  Applications are being accepted until April 7, 2021.  The program gives eligible businesses a loan of $20-40,000, if they can prove a 20% loss of revenue between April of 2019 and 2020.
Other programs include the Digital Main St: PPE  Support to help costs associated with Personal Protective Equipment.  For more information visit the province’s website