The Government of Ontario is implementing a stay at home order instead of a curfew, and some might wonder what the difference is between the two.
On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford announced that effective Thursday, January 14 at 12:01 am, a stay at home order will be implemented.
The order means everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, for exercise or for essential work.
Enhanced enforcement will be implemented with the stay at home order and for those not following the new and existing measures. Penalties can include up to a year in jail. 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 (ROA) and EMCPA.
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When asked how this differs from a curfew, which Quebec implemented last week to ensure people stay home from 8 pm to 5 am, Ford responded, “I’ve never been in favour of a curfew, and I’ll tell you why I’ve never been in favour of a curfew; that’s a hard, hard lockdown. Cars aren’t driving around, nothing at all.”
Ford added that the province has never believed in a police state, and a curfew means no one can leave their home. He made note of Quebec, saying the streets are empty after 8 pm.
“The last thing I’ve ever believed in is a curfew, where police are chasing you down your driveway after 8 o’clock,” he said. “Because I believe in the people of Ontario, and as soon as you tell the people of Ontario you’ve lost trust and there’s police down the street chasing you, you might as well put in the white flag.”
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones added that the stay at home order allows and “empowers” provincial offence officers, specifically bylaw enforcement officers, to also issue tickets and disperse crowds larger than five if they don’t belong to the same household.
“There are many things we can do as a government, but at the end of the day people have to understand how serious this is and how by staying home, it will in fact save lives,” she said.