ontario lockdown

The entire province of Ontario will be placed in full lockdown after Christmas

Premier Doug Ford has just formally announced a blanket lockdown of all regions in Ontario, which will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26, inside sources leaked over the weekend and Ford confirmed during his presser today.

The new measures will place all parts of the province under something similar to, but separate from the rigid grey-zone lockdown that Toronto and Peel entered back on Nov. 23, followed by York and Windsor-Essex on Dec. 14 and Hamilton today, Dec. 21.

The province's earlier colour-coded framework will be paused while the new shutdown takes place.

This will mean the end of personal care services, dining at bars or restaurants and shopping in-person at retailers — pickup and delivery is still okay — and that private indoor gatherings will be completely forbidden, among other heavy-handed orders.

What differs from this development and the first of the grey-level shutdowns is that different parts of the province will be subject to different durations of the the restrictions: those north of the Sudbury area, which is a four hour drive from Toronto, will be locked down for a minimum of two weeks.

Those in the southeastern parts of the province below that city, meanwhile, will face the measures for at least four weeks.

This is in addition to the weeks that some residents have already borne the most stringent form of the provincial government's pandemic shutdown.

Students, who contentiously returned to classrooms in September, will also have their holiday break extended, with elementary students resuming in-person classes on Jan. 11, and secondary students on Jan. 25.

The move comes just prior to the holidays when people are more likely to gather with friends and family after a hell of a year, including Christmas and New Year's.

Specifics of the orders that residents will need to follow do not include anything as severe as a curfew, as was seen (and yielded success) in such places as Melbourne, Australia earlier in the health crisis, but do include further cuts to the list of essential businesses permitted to maintain somewhat normal operations.

Despite more drastic public health rules, the number of COVID-19 cases in the province has remained high in recent weeks, with around 2,300 new cases each day for the last few days amid record high testing levels and a pretty steady per cent positivity of around five.

The mortality rate from the communicable disease in Ontario currently sits at approximately 2.7 per cent with 4,150 deaths, the large bulk of which — 69 per cent — have been in patients 80 and over.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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