BREAKING: Ontario declares state of emergency, issues stay at home order

As cases continue spiking in concerning directions with record daily highs despite current measures, the Ontario government has declared a state of emergency and will be enacting further restrictions as part of the province-wide COVID-19 lockdown.

Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday afternoon that Ontario’s state of emergency orders, which will be in place for at least the next 28 days, will feature a number of intensified restrictions following criticism that the existing lockdown measures are not enough to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Ford issued a stay at home order for Ontarians, effective as of Thursday, January 14th at 12:01 am. As a result, Ontario residents will be required to stay home and only leave the house for essential trips such as groceries, medical appointments, or essential work. Those able to do so are instructed to work from home.

“Everyone must stay home to save lives,” said Ford. “There will be soon some very dark days ahead, some very turbulent waters, but we will get through this.”

Schools in numerous COVID-19 hot spots province-wide, including Windsor-Essex, Peel, Toronto, Peel, York, and here in Hamilton will remain closed for in-person classes until at least February 10th.

Instead of outright closing big box stores like Walmart and Costco save for grocery needs, Ford also said the provincial government will be commencing an inspection blitz, promising to “come down hard” on those found being lax with COVID-19 health & safety regulations.

Other province-wide restrictions include the halting of non-essential construction projects, as well as a mandate for all non-essential retail shops – except for food spots, pharmacies, gas stations, or convenience stores – to open no earlier than 7 am and close no later that 8 pm.

Any individuals or businesses found disobeying these orders will be subject to fines and prosecution.

Read more on the Ontario website.

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