Here are the rules for Toronto under Ontario's new stay-at-home order
Ontario has officially put forth a new stay-at-home order for the entire province, changing up the rules regarding what people in Toronto can and cannot do for the fifth time in just over one month.
When announcing the order (as well as a new state of emergency) during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford lamented that more restrictions were necessary due to the ongoing third wave of COVID-19.
"I can't stress this enough: Things are extremely, extremely serious right now and I'm extremely concerned," said Ford, noting that ICU admissions over the past week have been increasing faster than even the worst case scenario predicted by his command table.
"As thing change, as we learn more about these deadly new variants, as we see new problems arise. We need to adapt — we need to move quickly and decisively. And right now, above all else, our plan is to get needles into arms and protect our hospitals."
To that effect, Ontario's third official state of emergency has been declared and stay-at-home orders come into effect on Thursday, April 8, at 12:01 a.m. (less than 12 hours from now.)
"The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA)," reads a release from the Premier's Office outlining the new restrictions.
The stay-at-home order rules include "requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for exercise close to home, and with the people you live with, or for work that cannot be done remotely."
These new restrictions will be in effect on top of all existing provincial shutdown rules for at least four weeks.
"These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province's hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants," notes the province.
"While every action possible is being taken to increase capacity and continue daily surgeries and procedures, the province is reaching a tipping point."
Below are the new stay-at-home order restrictions, per the Premier's Office:
In addition, the province is also strengthening public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake. Measures include, but are not limited to the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.:
As part of Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, people living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions.
This initiative will be expanded to additional "hot spot" regions based on established patterns of transmission, severe illness, and mortality.
To support this expanded vaccination effort, mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over.
Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities.
The province will provide additional resources to support these mobile and pop-up clinics in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods.
The government will also extend booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to more age groups through its provincial booking system, for public health regions with highly impacted neighbourhoods, on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Booking eligibility will be extended to include individuals aged 50 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass immunization clinics in high-risk areas as identified by postal code, using the provincial booking system.
Health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will increase inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones to continue protecting essential workers while on the job.
There have been 19,500 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province since the beginning of 2021. During those visits, inspectors have issued over 15,000 orders and over 450 COVID-19 related tickets, and stopped unsafe work related to COVID- 19 a total of 24 times.
"As we continue to see COVID-19 variants of concern drive this third wave of COVID-19, it is evident stronger public health and workplace measures are needed to help interrupt the spread of the virus," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"By all of us staying at home, while still taking some time to enjoy the outdoors with the people we live with in our local neighbourhoods and maintaining two metres physical distance from others, we can reduce our mobility, minimize transmission, protect our loved ones and our communities, safeguard health system capacity, and save lives."
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