Ontario government extends emergency orders for another 10 days

May 19 2020, 7:47 am

Premier Doug Ford’s government has extended its emergency orders for another 10 days to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency orders are currently in force until May 29, 2020.

According to the province, that includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.

The government said it is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.

As of Tuesday, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.

“Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it’s critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Ford in a statement.

“The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household.”

The government has approved an exemption to the emergency order related to gatherings to allow Ontarians to attend drive-in religious gatherings, under certain conditions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The conditions include keeping vehicles two metres or more apart, only members of the same household can be in one vehicle, people will not be able to leave their vehicles, and no more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a motor vehicle and they must stay at least two metres apart.

“Our government recognizes the importance that Ontarians place on participating in religious services,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “We continue to take a measured approach to reopening our province and this exemption is another important step forward in that process.”

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 29.

The emergency orders include:

Extending these orders supports the government’s plan to cautiously and safely reopen businesses, services, and amenities in a way that will enable the province to continue to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The state of emergency, which was extended previously until June 2, gives the province power to enforce the emergency orders.