Ontario extending its second provincial declaration of emergency

Jan 25 2021, 10:41 am

The Government of Ontario has declared that the provincial emergency would be extended for another 14 days to combat COVID-19.

On Monday, the declaration of emergency made under section 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), originally declared on January 12, 2021, will now expire on February 9, 2021, unless extended further.

All orders under the EMCPA, including the Stay at Home Order, Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures, Residential Evictions, were also extended.

Orders under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) continue to be in force.

The Stay at Home order has been in effect since Thursday, January 14. It means everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, exercising, or 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.

In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee working from home does work from home.

Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. According to the province, this is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in Spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.

Individuals are required to wear a mask or face-covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open.

In addition, all non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 am and close no later than 8 pm. However, the restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.

COVID-19 cases have slowly been declining, with Monday’s 1,958, Sunday’s 2,417, Saturday’s 2,359,  Friday’s 2,622, Thursday’s 2,632, Wednesday’s 2,655, Tuesday’s 1,913, and Monday’s 2,578.

To date, Ontario has seen 256,960 COVID-19 cases and 5,846 virus-related deaths.

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