BREAKING: Ontario issues stay-at-home order, tightens restrictions

Amid outcry and criticism from healthcare workers and individuals alike regarding the latest shutdown restrictions, the Ontario government is declaring a state of emergency, tightening restrictions in the province and issuing a stay-at-home order.

Premier Doug Ford made the official announcement at Queen’s Park on Wednesday afternoon as Ontario’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to hover just above or below the 3,000 mark each day, and ICUs across the province have stretched their capacities and resources.

“We need to hunker down right now; we need to limit mobility,” said Ford, adding that the province’s priority is ramping up vaccine rollout to hotspots with high transmission rates, and to high risk individuals such as education workers as soon as possible pending supply.

Effective Thursday, April 8th at 12:01 am, those who can work from home will be required to stay home save for essential reasons, and all non-essential retail will be ordered to close except for delivery and curb-side pickup.

Additionally, big box stores like Costco and Walmart will be required to close all non-essential aisles and sections of their stores, limiting them to essential in-person shopping only such as groceries and pharmacy needs.

Notably, schools are still set to remain open for in-person learning; however, some public health units in the province’s hot spots – such as Toronto – have opted to close schools in their regions, switching to virtual learning temporarily. It remains to be seen if Hamilton public health will follow suit.

These further restrictions come on top of the province-wide emergency brake ‘shutdown’ issued by Premier Doug Ford last week; an action that has drawn intense criticism for the fact that it doesn’t represent a true and complete shutdown of the province in the wake of the pandemic’s third wave.

More to come.

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