Almost two weeks after premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for Ontario amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he confirmed that it will be extended.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ford said the state of emergency will be extended and re-evaluated every two weeks.
The state of emergency was first issued on March 17.
Over the weekend, Ontario officially banned social gatherings of more than five people effective immediately. According to the province, stronger action was required to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.
The province’s new ban is based advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the new emergency order is under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
And on Monday, Ford said that stricter enforcement will be put in place if people do not adhere to physical distancing measures.
Over the weekend, with the warmer weather, Ford said large groups of people were seen together socializing.
“The streets were packed and that’s unacceptable. Every person needs to take a hard look at their habits,” he said. “We’re prepared to take further action if we do not see a stop to this behaviour.”
Ford said he would wait for advice from the medical team and would consult with the federal government if he were to look at a mandatory stay-at-home order.
The premier assured that Ontario’s story can be different than the cases seen in Italy or Spain, but in order for this to happen individuals must take the advice seriously, otherwise it can affect the vulnerable, like the province’s senior population.
On March 30, the province confirmed 351 new known cases of coronavirus, bringing the province’s total up to 1,706.
A total of 23 people have died from the virus in the province, with 431 patients recovered.