4 week lockdown ontario

It looks like Ontario is going into a full 4 week lockdown

Ontario will soon be entering a four week lockdown, say sources who leaked the news to multiple media outlets, as Premier Doug Ford enacts the newly-tightened emergency brake mechanism of the province's reopening framework due to upward trends in COVID-19 case counts and variants of concern.

It's been confirmed that the province is making some sort of major announcement about new restrictions on Thursday afternoon, just days after it was revealed that hair salons and other personal care services could resume operations in grey zone regions starting April 12.

After calls from various unelected health experts to implement stricter measures to stop virus spread from escalating once more, it appears that instead of potentially pulling the brake just in problem regions such as Toronto or taking away new permissions granted in grey zones, Ford and his team are locking down the entire province further.

Insiders have told outlets like the CBC, Global and CTV News that a blanket shutdown similar to the one the province was placed under on Boxing Day will start at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 3 and will remain in effect for four weeks or 28 days.

Fortunately, it seems rules won't be quite as tight as the last time around — patio dining and outdoor fitness activities will cease after just days of being allowed again in Toronto, and businesses offering personal care services won't be permitted to open after all, but "non-essential" retail stores will remain open with 25 per cent capacity limits.

Private indoor gatherings will still be banned across the province, as they already are in the six regions in the grey zone, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people, down from the current grey cap of 10, with exceptions for larger groups who live together, or a person living alone who is joining another group.

A new zone now also been added to the province's reopening framework: White-Shutdown.

In the shutdown, people are once again asked to only leave their homes for necessities. Religious services are limited to 15 per cent indoor capacity, food and drink establishments must close for all but takeout and delivery, and sports facilities must fully shutter.

Ski hills, gaming establishments, event spaces, and more will also close down, while and golf courses, schools and childcare centres remain open.

Residents are understandably frustrated with the constant flip flopping and confusing changes in rules, especially while regions like Toronto and Peel have been in the most stringent form of lockdown since the fall.

Businesses had been given the hope that they may be able to recoup some of the devastating losses they'd incurred over the past year, which forced many to close down for good.

And citizens, mental health on the brink, had gotten a taste of some semblance of normalcy after months of forced closures that have lasted longer than almost anywhere in the world and are getting unbearable to weather.

Many are now wondering if lockdowns even work as we watch the rest of the world get vaccinated and safely reopen for the summer while our politicians bungle our innoculation program and our stringent restrictions worsen.

Ontario has been reporting more than 2,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 among a population of 14.5 million people for the last seven days, with a total of 421 COVID patients in ICUs across the province.

This latter figure, though seemingly low for the population, has sparked grave concern among health officials, being the highest number we've seen thus far over the course of the health crisis and comprising younger, sicker patients than previously.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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