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Ontario back in a state of emergency with another stay at home order

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DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The province of Ontario has been placed in its third state of emergency and has also implemented a stay-at-home order.

Provincial officials announced these measures on Wednesday, April 7th. The stay-at-home order went into effect on Thursday, April 8th.

“The reality is, despite everything we’ve done so far, the COVID-19 situation in Ontario is getting worse, as these new variants continue to spread. Our hospitals are reaching capacity,” Premier Doug Ford explained.

Under the new measures, non-essential retailers will be limited to operating from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. They can only offer curbside pickup and delivery. Delivery hours for these stores will be limited to between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Shopping malls will, also, only be allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery. According to a provincial press release, “big box” retail stores will be allowed to sell “grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only.”

“This wave [of COVID-19] is different. COVID-19 variants are transmitted more quickly and easily, putting even more lives at risk. In recent days, we’ve continued to hear from our health system partners. They are concerned. Many of them are afraid. Our hospitals are being hit hard,” Ontario health minister Christine Elliott said.

Premier Ford explained, the stay-at-home order will be, mostly “similar to what we went through earlier this year.” Under the order, the only reasons people will be allowed to leave their homes are: “going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work [which] cannot be done remotely.”

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones stated the implementation of these new measures was a necessary step to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We do not take this decision lightly, but we are seeing alarming daily case numbers. Hospital capacity is being stretched to the limits, despite the health measures we’ve asked people to follow. At this critical period, urgent action is required to slow the surging spread of COVID-19, and save lives.”

The Solicitor General also warned people, steps will be taken when someone breaks or ignores the new rules.

“Let me be clear, these measures will be enforced,” she said.


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