ontario lockdown

Ontario lockdown could get stricter according to Doug Ford

Though Premier Doug Ford reiterated today that he's not yet considering something as drastic as a curfew for Ontarians, he did say that there is definitely the potential for lockdown rules to be extended for a longer period, or be made more stringent in some parts of the province.

He made the revelation on Thursday, just a few days before grey-zone regions Toronto and Peel are due to be reassessed for potential reopening after 28 days under Ontario's most severe pandemic restrictions on businesses and residents.

"I don't think we're there to a curfew, but we all just [need to] stop with the socializing and having friends and family over... we have to bend the trend here because the trend just continues to grow in the GTA, no matter what we're doing," Ford told reporters in a press briefing this afternoon.

He added that "everything's on the table" when asked about whether the province could at some point face a broader blanket lockdown, the shutdown of schools, and other such courses of action to curb the spread of the virus.

Officials announced another new record high of 2,432 cases of the communicable disease provincewide today — with testing remaining high at 58,000 completed in the last 24 hours — despite the fact that the province's top two virus hotspots have been in the most intense iteration of lockdown for nearly a month.

Per cent positivity among those tested, meanwhile, has been spiking up and down in recent weeks, hovering around the 5 per cent mark, with 20-39 year olds making up most of the past few days' infections.

Officials such as the Ontario Hospital Association and Toronto Mayor John Tory have been calling for more drastic limits to be placed on parts of the province to help reduce daily new case counts, while businesses such as major retailers and salons are fighting back against forced closures with proof of how their settings have not been huge contributors to COVID-19 transmission.

"The Ontario Government's health data shows the retail shoppers are not contributing to COVID-19 spread in any significant way," The Hudson's Bay Company wrote in a statement about the impacts of the lockdown last week.

"The decision to close some retailers in these regions has not achieved public health objectives. Rather, it has potentially increased health risks by funneling more shoppers into fewer, crowded stores."

With the most notorious time of the year for social gatherings quickly approaching — and many Canadians planning to attend holiday dinners despite the guidance of health experts — the next few weeks will undoubtedly have some effects on continuing spread of the virus and consequent course of action as far as provincial orders are concerned.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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