Ontario is issuing an order requiring residents to stay at home starting Thursday, except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries.
Premier Doug Ford says he is also declaring another state of emergency effective immediately in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates.
The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Schools in Toronto, York Region, Hamilton, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex will not return to in-person learning until Feb. 10.
The premier announced the restrictions shortly after the province released new projections that show the virus is on track to overwhelm Ontario’s health-care system.
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, says that if the province’s COVID-19 positivity rate is at five per cent, Ontario will see more than 20,000 new cases a day by the middle of next month. If the rate climbs to seven per cent, that means the province will see 40,000 new daily cases.
Ontario reported 2,903 new cases of COVID-19 on January 12, including eight new cases of a variant from the United Kingdom. The province also reported 41 more deaths linked to the virus. Other new measures include:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
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