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BREAKING: Ontario is moving into province-wide ‘shutdown’

With massive spikes of new COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic’s third wave across Ontario, the provincial government has announced a province-wide ‘shutdown’ beginning on Saturday, April 3rd at 12:01 am and lasting 28 days at least.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement from Queen’s Park on Thursday afternoon, following a new daily case count that topped 2,500, with 119 of those cases confirmed here in Hamilton.

The ‘shutdown’ also comes as ICU capacities are stretched thin and new COVID-19 variants of concern – which have shown to be more contagious and cause more severe disease – continue rising across the province.

As part of this ‘shutdown’ across Ontario, all residents who have the ability to do so will be required to work from home for the duration of the shutdown. Public schools will remain open for in-person learning.

Retail stores will have capacity limits for in-person shopping, with essential stores like supermarkets, grocery retailers, and drug stores limited to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity. All other retail will be capped at 25 per cent capacity.

Restaurants, bars, and cafes that opened their patios this week will have to shut them down again, with these establishments now limited to takeaway and delivery only with no indoor or outdoor dining allowed.

Personal care services such as hairdressers, salons, spas, and tattoo parlours are also prohibited under ‘shutdown’, as are indoor fitness activities.

Indoor gatherings, both through organized public events and social gatherings, are also not permitted under ‘shutdown’ rules unless they involve people from the same household. Outdoor organized public events will be capped at a maximum of 5 people and must comply with physical distancing protocols.

Weddings, funerals, and other religious ceremonies are allowed to occur in person with a maximum of 15 per cent capacity in indoor venues, with outdoor services also permitted as long as all guests can maintain at least 2 metres of physical distance at all times. Mask-wearing is always required.

Read more on the Ontario website.

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