The Ontario government declared a province-wide state of emergency with a stay-at-home order, effective 12:01 a.m. on Thursday April 8. This means:
- The closure of non-essential retail stores, in exception for curbside pickup, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Access to malls will be limited to specific purposes (including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall).
- Big box stores can sell essential items (including grocery items, pharmaceuticals, health-care items, per care items).
- Temporarily stopping residential evictions.
- The following stores can operate for in-person retail by appointment only, subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit, restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.: businesses that primarily sell, rent, or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies; rental and leasing services (i.e., automobile); stores that sell prescription eyewear; businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats/watercraft; vehicle and equipment repair; retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service (cellphone repairs or technical support).
- Garden centres/nurseries can continue to operate with 25 per cent capacity.
- Gyms will be closed.
- Personal care services will be prohibited.
- Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited (in exception for take-out, drive-through, and delivery).
- Schools/childcare will remain open in public health regions that permit them to.
Ontarians will be required to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as grocery shopping, accessing medical/vaccination appointments, work that cannot be done remotely, and exercising close to home (but only with members from the same household). Ontarians are also encouraged to restrict travel outside of their regions.
“The COVID-19 situation is at a critical stage and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants,” Ford said. “By imposing these strict new measures we will keep people safe while allowing our vaccination program to reach more people, starting with our high risk population and identified hot spots. Although this is difficult, I urge everyone to follow these public health measures and together we will defeat this deadly virus.”
Ford asked Ontarians to “take a break from negativity” over the next few weeks, assuring Ontarians that “we will recover.”
“Please folks, let’s stick together,” Ford urged. “Let’s stick together and follow the rules.”
The new measures, however, received a host of criticism across social media:
Not good enough!
How will this make any difference for Toronto/Peel? Those areas need curfews with teeth. You are continuing to allocate resources to two areas which do not change. Meanwhile the rest of Ontario is punished while resources are withheld for their residents!
— M Templar (@IslayDream) April 7, 2021
I am Black I live in Ontario.9 of my family members have contracted COVID & 3 have died. ZERO family members have been vaccinated as of today & now we must believe the failure to prioritize Black lives comes down to a simple error of omission on a website. https://t.co/k2ZMQVdGKa
— Dr. Notisha Massaquoi (@NotishaMassaqu1) April 7, 2021
The news comes as Ontario reported 3,215 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with nearly 49,900 tests completed. Locally, there are 1,095 new cases in Toronto, 596 in Peel, 342 in York Region, 225 in Ottawa and 187 in Durham. Moreover — ICU beds continue to fill up. The number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario is 1,397; 504 patients are in the ICU due to COVID-related critical illnesses, and 311 patients are in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illnesses.
Meanwhile, the province has moved to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in “hot spot” communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods, as well as individuals with the highest-risk health conditions.
Over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and the end of June 2021.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, 2,726,221 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.