stay at home order

Doug Ford just tried to clarify Ontario's stay-at-home order and failed

Ever since the Ontario government announced a number of new public health measures Tuesday in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and fast, the main sentiment from members of the public has been one of confusion

The new restrictions include a declaration of a state of emergency, an official stay-at-home orderlowered outdoor gathering limits, reduced retail hours and more, but many residents are now left with questions such as what exactly is considered essential, and why are outdoor gatherings of five people still permitted when everyone is supposed to stay home unless they absolutely have to go out?

Confusion abounds, Premier Doug Ford attempted to clarify the stay-at-home order in a tweet Wednesday morning. 

"Friends, Ontario's new stay-at-home order comes down to each of us asking ourselves a very simple question: is leaving home absolutely essential?" he wrote on social media. "If the answer isn't an immediate and emphatic 'yes' then please stay home. Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives."

Despite his best efforts, Ford's tweet did little to clear up the endless questions coming from his constituents, and he actually may have made things even more puzzling for some. 

"Sorry, but the ongoing refusal of @fordnation and the govt to recognize that the definition of 'essential' is NOT the same for everyone is a major stumbling block!" wrote one Twitter user in response to Ford's statement. "It can vary significantly based on social and economic status. #PaidSickDaysSaveLives #PaidSickDays."

"Then @fordnation why are non-essential stores still open, outdoor gatherings of 5 people still allowed and it is 'recommended' to wear a mask outside if distancing can't be maintained???" asked another. "Help me understand!! I must be missing something!"

And it turns out members of the public aren't the only ones seeking answers. 

In an interview with CP24 Tuesday morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory said he's having trouble parsing the exact details of the new restrictions, and he still doesn't understand whether outdoor amenities such as skating rinks and toboggan hills are permitted to operate. 

"It says right here that no person is permitted to use an indoor or outdoor recreational amenity that is required to be closed. But it says skating rinks can be open — we have 54 skating rinks or some number like that, and so the question becomes are they supposed to be open or closed?" the mayor asked.

"It also says organized public gatherings and social events are limited to five people. So is a skating rink an organized social or public event, or is it not? We have a limit of 25 people on those rinks."

And Tory's not the only one — even the police are confused by the new directives and how they're expected to enforce them.

Provincial officials are expected to clarify many of the details of the new restrictions Wednesday afternoon, and Tory told CP24 it's the government's responsibility to ensure the information they're sharing is clear and comprehensible. 

"The public shouldn't be expected to do what I am doing here which is reading a 40-page document," he said. "The government of Ontario, which is putting forward these regulations, should be explaining exactly what these regulations are meant to achieve."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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