Ontario enters province-wide lockdown today

Dec 26 2020, 6:25 am

Ontario is entering a province-wide lockdown today to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and decrease the rise in cases.

Starting Saturday, and for the next 28 days in the south and 14 days in the north, the government has placed “time-limited public health and workplace safety measures,” which include:

  • Restrictions on indoor organized public events and social gatherings except for those in the same household. Those who live alone can have exclusive contact with one other household;
  • In-person shopping in most retail settings prohibited but curbside pickup and delivery can continue;
  • Discount, big-box retailers selling groceries limited to 25% capacity for in-store shopping, grocery stores, pharmacies, supermarkets continue to operate at 50%;
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores, safety supply stores, hardware stores, and convenience stores will remain open at 50% capacity;
  • Indoor access for malls restricted, only allowed for indoor pick up (appointment only);
  • Indoor and outdoor dining prohibited;
  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only;
  • Food court in malls open for takeout purchases;
  • Weddings and funeral services where physical distancing can be maintained can proceed with up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
  • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can proceed with 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
  • Personal care services are closed;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments are closed;
  • Amusement parks, water parks closed;
  • Zoos and aquariums closed to public;
  • Libraries can operate only from contactless curbside, delivery and pick-up, child care services, mental health, and addiction support services (10 persons);
  • Telecommunication retail stores that offer phone, internet, radio, and cellphone services may only allow the public to enter by appointment, only for repairs or technical support.

The time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will assess the data and review an safe approach for the reopening of retail.

“The number of daily cases continue to rise putting our hospitals and long-term care homes at risk,” said Premier Doug Ford when announcing the news last week.

“We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus. That’s why, on the advice of Dr. Williams and other health experts, we are taking the difficult but necessary decision to shutdown the province and ask people to stay home. Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of all Ontarians.”