Ontario officially extends state of emergency for another month
It's official: The province of Ontario will remain under a government-ordered state of emergency until at least July.
A PC motion proposing a 28-day-long extension of the order, which temporarily expands the government's power under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, passed at Queen's Park as expected on Tuesday.
This means that the ongoing state of emergency, which has now been in effect for more than two months, did not expire today as per the terms of its last extension.
Instead, it will last until June 30.
"This week, our government extended Ontario's state of emergency," said Ford during his daily pandemic press conference on Tuesday before the motion had been officially passed.
"Let me be clear: This does not mean that reopening is on hold — we are working around the clock to move ahead with our economic reopening and as I said last week, our health officials are working on the option of a regional model."
Ford says the plan "recognizes the reality on the ground in different parts of our province" and will "help us reopen safely without taking unnecesary risks."
"A second wave of this virus is possible and we must remain vigilant and we must continue to prepare for the long haul," said Ford, who has not yet explained why his government moved for a four-week-long extension, as opposed to the two-week-long extensions we've seen in the past.
The premier first declared a state of emergency on March 17 as cases of COVID-19 began to rise rapidly in Ontario and around the rest of the world.
When the state of emergency was first declared, a number of new orders were immediately put into place to slow the spread of the deadly virus, all of them based on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams.
Many of those orders — including the closures of all bars and restaurants and a ban on gatherings of more than five people — have been extended at two-week intervals throughout the pandemic, with some modifications.
The state of emergency itself has similarly been extended every two weeks since it was first declared.
When asked on Monday if he planned to extend the state of emergency once again at the end of June, Ford was unable to provide a concrete answer.
"It all depends on the situation we're facing," said the premier. "If we're seeing that everything's moving in the right direction, numbers are going down, then we don't need to."
Here's to hoping.
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