Ford to impose Ontario-wide shutdown as 3rd wave of COVID-19 hits hard
New pandemic modelling to be released Thursday and stricter measures to take effect Saturday
With a record number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario’s intensive care units and its highest-ever rate of new cases in schools, multiple sources say Premier Doug Ford will on Thursday announce plans to move the whole province into what the government describes as “shutdown” measures.
The provincial government’s COVID-19 scientific advisers are scheduled to release new modelling Thursday morning showing the expected impact of the pandemic’s third wave over the next few weeks.
Ford’s announcement, which sources say will put the province’s health units under a new level of restrictions, dubbed shutdown, is scheduled to follow at 1:30 p.m.
Details the shutdown or stay-at-home orders put in place previously are posted on the province’s website.
Ford said Wednesday he is “extremely concerned” about both rising ICU admissions and daily COVID-19 case counts. Asked whether the government will tighten public health measures, Ford replied “stay tuned” and said an announcement would come Thursday.
Restrictions will include:
- Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, and limiting the capacity for outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum — except for gatherings with members of the same household, or gatherings of members of one household and one other person who lives alone.
- Limits on in-person shopping: a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and a 25 per cent limit for all other retail including big box stores.
- No personal care services.
- No indoor and outdoor dining. Take out, delivery and drive-thru options are allowed.
- Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness, with very limited exceptions.
- The closure of day camps.
- Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
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