Ontario's emergency alert telling people to stay home did not go over well
"GOOD MORNING, ONTARIO, WAKE UP! FAST! IT'S AN EMERGENCY!... Please stay home, unless you need to leave the house for food, work, healthcare, exercise or anything else you deem essential. Now, here's a website where you read the same vague information that we've been been jamming down your throat all week..."
This is the crux of what people across the entire province were just told, via their screeching smartphones, in the loud, jarring style of Canada's Alert Ready notification system.
That moment when it’s really quiet and your emergency alert goes off on your phone, making you jump three feet and almost throwing your phone. 😐😐😐 pic.twitter.com/LnEX1WVIKR— 🌻🎀Mrs. Sassy Binks ♈️❤️♊️🌻 (@Mrs_Binks2U) January 14, 2021
Best associated with Amber Alerts (which are issued when children have been abducted) and other actual emergencies, the air raid siren noises triggered by the notifications are known for getting heart rates pumping — often in the middle of the night.
Doug Ford's provincial government was kind enough to wait until just after 10 a.m. on Thursday to issue today's emergency notification, as opposed to at 12:01 a.m., when the new stay-at-home order first came into effect.
Many residents were nonetheless woken up and freaked right out by the ominous noise.
Got woken up and spooked by the #AmberAlert regarding the lockdown. NO SHIT AND FUCK OFF! YOU USE IT FOR THAT?! I BARLEY SLEPT NOW IM TIRED AND DEPRESSED!— Jack Buchanan (@BigJackFilms) January 14, 2021
Today blows. #Ontario pic.twitter.com/VKZcrapXH0
Upon learning that the alert did little more than remind people of Ontario's newly-enhanced pandemic lockdown rules, their startled responses turned to rage.
Are you Fn kidding me @fordnation I just got a txt and TV alert about staying home?!?!?!??! WTF this isn't an amber alert or immediate risk situation! You Fn do that again and I'll report you to the @CRTC for abuse of my personal communication devices. This is BS!!!! #Onpoli— MmmChocolate (@MsChoco14842266) January 14, 2021
"I wasn't pissed about the lockdown til they woke me up out of my sleep with a f*cking amber alert," wrote one Twitter user.
"That amber alert for a lockdown bullshit was not needed, everybody knows the rules, ain't nobody listening anyways, so please don't interrupt my sleep for no damn reason," wrote another.
I get using the emergency alert system to convey this kind of message but it seems kinda messed up to use the same noise for an Amber Alert, no? I feel like people already turn a blind eye when they get an Amber Alert so this I'm sure isn't helping that— Pep (@ryanpeplinskie) January 14, 2021
Others rightfully pointed out that the message wasn't even an Amber Alert — though the notification was identical to what residents recieve on their phones when a child is in serious danger and police need help locating them.
"I get using the emergency alert system to convey this kind of message but it seems kinda messed up to use the same noise for an Amber Alert, no?" commented one Twitter user. "I feel like people already turn a blind eye when they get an Amber Alert so this I'm sure isn't helping that."
I'm all for Emergency Alerts when necessary - but for the government to word these so aggressively for Stay at Home order while also having so much confusion about it is IMO pretty irresponsible.— The Beer Dad (@beerdad_TO) January 14, 2021
"EMERGENCY ALERT: STAY HOME.....unless you need to buy a cute shirt at Walmart"
Another sentiment shared widely among Twitter users was that the alert was simply unecessary, if not an abuse of the Alert Ready system — especially given how unclear and lax the order itself seems to be.
"An emergency alert when the big box stores are still open and you can have after school programs and 'pickup' crap at the mall?" commented one. "I'm sorry, I'm not over this."
"I can't believe they sent out an emergency alert to say stay home if you want to or don't lol," wrote another.
I can't believe the government used an amber alert to tell me to stay in my unit. I'm at the airport and when I look out my window from the 12th floor this is what I see: planes coming and going all day long. Both TTC and Mississauga transit running. Traffic, lots. Timmy's pic.twitter.com/7fdiAAvbZj— MEME GIF CENTRAL (@EschbachMichael) January 14, 2021
Agree with it or not, the emergency order is now solidly in effect and you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone you were unaware of this.
Not a whole lot has changed, but additional restrictions (in addition to those already in place as part of the provincewide lockdown) include early retail closures, smaller outdoor gathering limits and the instruction to stay at home "with exceptions for essential purposes."
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