The Ontario government is extending all emergency orders currently in force until June 30.
On Wednesday, the province announced the extension under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
According to the provincial government, the extension is to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to “safely and gradually” reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline healthcare workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.
The state of emergency is also in effect until June 30 — it was first enacted on March 17.
“Extending these emergency orders gives our frontline healthcare providers the necessary flexibility to rapidly respond to urgent needs and protect our most vulnerable,” said Ford.
“Even though we’re seeing decreasing infection rates with increased testing levels, we can’t let our guard down just yet. We need to keep these emergency measures in place to support our frontline heroes and we must all continue following the public health advice, so we can reopen more of the province safely and gradually.”
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While current emergency orders will remain in place until the end of the month, the government will continue to review each one on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine when and if they can safely be adjusted or lifted, as part of the province’s framework to reopen the province.
Over the past week, the government announced 31 public health unit regions across the province may proceed to Stage 2 of its Framework for Reopening the Province. This will allow additional businesses and services to reopen and more people to return to work.
Only Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex cannot move into the next stage.
In addition, larger social gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed in all parts of the province, and people are encouraged to create or join a social circle.
It’s important to note that social circles are different from social gatherings. Social gatherings of people from outside your household are limited to 10 people.
A social circle is voluntary, but if adopted should include all household members, and can include family and friends outside the household up to a maximum of 10 people in the social circle, who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing.
The province emphasized that to help stop the spread, people should continue to follow public health guidelines, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering where physical distancing is a challenge and washing their hands thoroughly and frequently.
And, anyone who is worried they may have coronavirus, or who may have been exposed to the virus, is encouraged to go for testing.