Stay At Home Order Issued In Ontario, State Of Emergency Declared, New Public Health Measures Announced

Tuesday January 12th, 2021

Posted at 1:50pm

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The government of Ontario has announced new restrictions under the provincial lockdown set to take effect this Thursday.

Stay At Home Order

Premier Doug Ford announced the province is declaring a state of emergency and a stay-at-home order that will be in effect for 28 days.

“The latest modelling data shows that Ontario is in a crisis and, with the current trends, our hospital ICUs will be overwhelmed in a few short weeks with unthinkable consequences,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why we are taking urgent and decisive action, which includes declaring a provincial emergency and imposing a stay-at-home-order.”

“We need people to only go out only for essential trips to pick up groceries or go to medical appointments,” he said. “By doing the right thing and staying home, you can stay safe and save lives.”

The province says effective Thursday, January 14th, 2021 at 12:01am, the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

The province says the order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people’s mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household.

They say in addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.

New Public Health Restrictions

The government is also enacting these new public health measures:

  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. The province says this is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7:00am and close no later than 8:00. 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.

The province say the measures will come into effect between Tuesday January 12th and Thursday, January 14th.

School Closures Extended

The province is also extending school closures in Windsor-Essex, Peel Region, Toronto, York, and Hamilton, until February 10th.

New Enforcement Measures

The province says they will also step up enforcement under the declaration of a provincial emergency.

They say authority will be provided to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce.

They say those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

In addition, they say all enforcement personnel will have the authority to “temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house.”

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