Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared the province’s third state of emergency during the pandemic and issued a four-week stay-at-home order.
“Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for exercise close to home and with the people you live with, or for work that cannot be done remotely,” a government statement released Wednesday says.
“As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the stay-at-home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.”
The order comes with new rules for retails, including a requirement that big box stores rope off non-essential items to focus only on the sales of groceries, pharmacies, pet supplies and gardening items.
All other non-essential retail stores will go back to curbside pick-up with controlled hours.
The Ford government has already applied a province-wide brake, but this goes further by shutting down most retail outlets to all but online or curbside sales
New vaccination guidelines also came out which will emphasize inoculation in regions with the highest rates of transmission.
Ontario reported 3,215 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday – one-third in Toronto — and 17 more deaths.
There were 1,095 new cases in Toronto, 596 in Peel, 342 in York, 187 in Durham and 104 in Hamilton.
Ottawa reported 225 new cases. The Renfrew County and District Health Unit reported three new cases on Wednesday.
— With files by the Canadian Press