emergency alert ontario

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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."

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.

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."

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil

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