ontario alert

Ontario emergency alert telling everyone to stay home sparks anger and frustration

For the second time in just over a week, the Province of Ontario made use of its emergency alert notification system to remind all residents of they fact that they are currently living through global pandemic outbreak and need to act like it.

"Stop the spread. COVID-19 can be deadly. The time to act is NOW," read the message, which popped up on cell phones all over the province accompanied by a jarring air raid siren noise around 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.

"Everyone but essential workers need to stay home. Only go out if absolutely necessary to pick up groceries, prescriptions, or go to a medical appointment. Ignoring self-isolation or physical distancing advice can have devastating effects and endanger lives."

The alert, which also went out across radio and TV broadcast networks, startled some of those who received it.

"Well that scared the heck out of me," wrote one Twitter user. "Just got an emergency system alert from the Ontario government, not saying anything different than it has before. So it's really strange they sent it out."

"Having an emergency alert go off and seeing everyone in the store pull out their phones at the same time was pretty spooky," wrote another.

Some people were flat out annoyed to have received the alert at all.

"Thank you Ontario emergency alert for being so obnoxious you woke my essential ass up when my phone was on DND," wrote one resident.

"Uh, @ONgov — the #emergencyalert system should be for alerts — new urgent information requiring immediate action or cognizance," wrote another. "Not spamming my phone to give me old generic info and reinforce an alert status I've been in [for] three weeks."

Many more, however, expressed how frustrated they were not by the alert itself, but by the actions of people who made the government feel it was necessary to send.

"Wondering why Ontario got another emergency alert?" asked one Twitter user. "It is because people aren't listening. #keepyourasshome."

"PPL NEED TO STAY HOME," wrote another of the emergency alert. "You can't outrun the virus. Only way to stay safe is to stay home. Runners and cyclists this is not a necessity. STAY THE FUCK AT HOME (unless you're an essential worker and this is how you get to work.)"


There seems to be a lot more anger this weekend in response to the alert (and particularly toward those who inspired it by refusing to social distance) than there was over the alert issued on March 27 by the province telling people who had recently travelled that they must self-isolate for 14 days.

It would appear as though citizens who've been following the advice of public health professionals to stay home and help slow the spread of COVID-19 are growing ever more resentful of those who break direct government orders.

As officials explained yesterday when revealing the province's pandemic projection models (and by pretty much every government official every day for the past three weeks,) the more we practice physical distancing, the faster life can go back to normal and the less lives we'll lose.

The province's top doctors and scientists believe that, based on our current trajectory, Ontario will likely see 80,000 cases of COVID-19 by the end of this month alone with 1,600 fatalities.

On Saturday morning, provincial health officials confirmed an additional 27 deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities in Ontario to 94.

More than 3,630 cases have now been confirmed in the province and more than one million people are thought to have been infected by the 2019 novel coronavirus globally as of April 4.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture


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