doug ford announcement

Doug Ford says more Ontario lockdown restrictions will be announced tomorrow

It's looking more and more like another stay-at-home order is about to be issued in Ontario — or at least for people in the hot spot regions of Toronto, Peel and York — as COVID-19 variants spread beyond anything we've seen before. 

Premier Doug Ford even went so far as to promise "further restrictions moving forward, very very quickly" while speaking at a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday.

Joined by Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Ford was providing an update on the province's vaccination plan — but reporters took the conversation in a different direction during his Q&A, grilling the Premier on what's coming next in terms of lockdown rules.

When asked specifically about whether or not we can expect another stay-at-home order (as recommended by top health officials), Ford said that "we'll discuss that tomorrow."

He also expressed his disappointment in how many people flocked to malls such as Yorkdale this weekend, noting that "going to the malls is not essential — what's essential is going to buy food, going to buy medicine out of the pharmacies and getting your vaccines."

With Ontario now just few days into the latest iteration of a full, provincewide shutdown, medical officers of health for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa urged the province on Monday to further tighten restrictions amid concerning rates of virus transmission.

"A stay-at-home order issued by the province through an emergency order is necessary to prevent and mitigate large scale morbidity and mortality and irreparable strain on the healthcare system," wrote the medical officers in the open letter published April 5.

"Stricter lockdowns have shown to be effective in other countries to control transmission while vaccine campaigns progressed to achieve sufficient population coverage to suppress transmission."

The doctors asked Ontario's medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, for a formal review of which businesses should be permitted to operate during the current four-week-long shutdown.

They also urged the closure of schools, at least in part, and the provision of paid sick days for workers in high-risk settings such as factories and warehouses.

Ford was asked about the recommendations on Tuesday and why he hadn't yet moved to make restrictions any tighter than what was announced on Thursday.

"This is moving day by day, hour by hour," said the premier. "I think we made a massive move last week by basically shutting down the entire province, that was huge, but we're gunna have further restrictions moving forward, very very quickly."

It is not yet known if these further restrictions will impact all of Ontario or just hot spot regions, though Ford did say that "we have to focus on where we see the problem."

"Three regions: York, Peel and Toronto represent 60 per cent of the COVID cases. So when you have an inferno going on somewhere, you have to turn the hoses there," he said.

"You have to continue to doing the who province, but we're really focusing on the hot areas."

Residents of Canada's largest province are growing even more frustrated to learn that restrictions could flip flop, yet again, so soon after changing.

The entire province just returned to shutdown mode this past weekend, plunging all 34 public health regions into a period of mass closures similar to that which we experienced after Boxing Day, but with small retail stores still allowed to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

As of Saturday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m., all indoor bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services were forced to close. Toronto lost the patio dining privileges it had only won a week earlier.

"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern," said Ford when announcing the latest lockdown rules on Thursday.

"I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals."

Lead photo by

Doug Ford

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