ontario shutdown

Doug Ford not ruling out Ontario shutdown similar to Quebec's

Quebec Premier François Legault announced today that the province will be shutting down all non-essential businesses for a two-week period after Christmas as a result of rising COVID-19 case numbers, and with a similar situation unfolding in Ontario, some residents are wondering whether we should expect to follow suit. 

Premier Doug Ford was asked this very question at his Queen's Park press briefing Tuesday afternoon, and he responded by saying that everything is on the table and nothing can be ruled out.

"What I can say, and I know I've said it throughout this whole pandemic, but really everything is on the table," said Ford to reporters. 

"Our number one priority is to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario and we'll listen to the advice of Dr. Williams and the health table."

On Tuesday, Ontario reported a record-high daily case increase, with 2,275 new infections confirmed throughout the province.

And while this alarmingly high number is partially due to a change in Public Health Ontario's data extraction and reporting process, the province's per cent positivity rate also reached 5.3 per cent today, which Ford called "concerning."

"We know that based on the modelling, had we not done anything or introduced any more restrictive measures, we would've been looking at daily case counts of about 6,500," said Health Minister Christine Elliott during the press conference. 

"So we haven't achieved those levels thank goodness but it is still a disturbing number to have the number of cases over 2,000."

This week, York Region and Windsor-Essex entered the lockdown stage of the province's framework, joining Toronto and Peel Region. 

But recent modelling released by the province revealed that lockdown restrictions haven't been as effective at reducing residents' mobility and lowering transmission as they were during the spring. 

As a result, some have been calling for a province-wide lockdown, but Elliott told reporters Tuesday that they'll continue to consult with experts and see what solutions they might be able to bring forward before making a decision.

"We do know that in some areas, people are still not complying with the public health rules and regulations. We do have enforcement officers out there and bylaw enforcement officers, the police in some situations, because it's really important that people not get together in gatherings larger than their own household," she said.

"That's how we have the community transmission that we have, that's what we really need to stop. So we're really asking people to please, please continue to follow those rules, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask if you are not able to do that, wash your hands frequently, stay at home if you're not feeling well and please just celebrate the holidays with your own household."

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