Ontario to Enter Second COVID-19 Lockdown Effective December 26

Existing Framework Suspended

By: Laura Steiner
The Ontario government is sending residents into a lockdown effective Saturday December 26 at 12:01 a.m.  The length will be 14 days for anything north of Sudbury.  Southern Ontario, including Halton will be subjected to a 28-day lockdown.  The move comes as part of a fight against COVID-19.
The decision was made in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. “We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus.  That’s why on the advice of Dr. Williams and other health experts, we are taking the difficult but necessary decision to shut down the province and ask people to stay home.  Nothing is more important than the safety and health of Ontarians,” Ford said.  The province is set to have 300 patients in the ICU within the next 10 days.
It was based on the latest modelling data revealed earlier today.  The data outlines three potential scenarios by January 24. Ontario could face 6,000 new cases/ day with 3% case growth, 14,000 cases/ day with 5% case growth, or potentially a worse-case scenario 30,00 cases per day with a potential 7% growth.  The current framework that sees Halton in a red zone has been suspended. “This was not an easy decision before holidays,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.  Hospitalizations have increased 74% over the last
New measures being introduced are:

  • Restricting outdoor public events and social gatherings to only the people you live with
  • Retail: Curbside, and delivery can continue.  Discount, and big box retail stores selling groceries will be limited to 25% capacity.  Regular grocery stores, as well as pharmacies will be limited to 50% of capacity for in-store shopping.  Malls will be restricted to patrons picking up items by appointment, or going to pick up takeout at a food court
  • Dining: Restaurants, and bars will only be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through and delivery only.

The Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The province is offering a new small business support grant of between $10-20,000 to help businesses as the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
“Ontario’s business owners have shown remarkable resolve and ingenuity throughout this pandemic.  They know better than anyone what they need to come through this very difficult time, so they can continue to serve, and employ people in their communities,” Finance Minister Rod Phillips said.  Qualifying businesses must meet the following three conditions:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
  • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Essential businesses allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant.  Details on how to apply will be announced in January, 2021.
Schools Move to Online Teacher-Led Learning
The province will move all publicly funded, private elementary, and secondary schools to teacher-led remote learning.  The following boards will be allowed to resume in-person learning:

  • The District of Algoma Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Sudbury and District Health Unit
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit

Elementary School students will be able to return in-person learning January 11, 2021, with secondary students learning remotely until January 25, 2021.  “During this period, students will pivot to teacher-led online learning, with child care provided for our frontline workers Lecce said.
New restrictions may apply at the discretion of local  municipalities, and Chief Medical Officers of Health (CMOH).  Halton’s CMOH Dr. Hamidah Meghani  has already done so introducing new orders limiting capacities in the region’s malls, and grocery stores.  The instructions took effect at at 12pm today.