stay at home order

It looks like the stay-at-home order in Ontario may be extended yet again

It appears that the stay-at-home order for Ontario, implemented on April 8 amid the provincial shutdown and already extended once so far, is due to be lengthened yet again.

Residents have been wringing their hands waiting for 12:01 a.m. on May 20, when we all perhaps naively hoped some things could finally reopen after yet another stint of forced closures that took away "non-essential" retail stores after just one month, patio dining after just two weeks, and prevented other businesses from opening at all since the fall.

But the prospect of public restrictions being drawn out longer than initially expected, though discouraging and even devastating, is something we should be used to by now in the land of the longest lockdown on the continent.

Golf course executives in the province have apparently been told by MPPs that they should expect to have to remain shuttered due to public health and safety measures until at least June 2 — two weeks later than when we all thought the stay-at-home order, which went from four weeks long to six mid-April, would be lifting.

The new key health indicator target that Premier Doug Ford and his team are allegedly trying to hit before loosening lockdown restrictions whatsoever is 1,000 or fewer new cases of the virus per day.

The latest data from May 9 showed 2,716 new cases provincewide that day, and 3,216 the day prior. Meanwhile, 6,238,778 doses of the vaccine have been administered among a population of approximately 14.5 million in a program that is finally beginning to ramp up.

In the colour-coded zone framework that is currently on hold due to the emergency brake, to land in the Red-Control zone, a region had to be around certain thresholds for COVID-19 stats.

These include a weekly incidence rate of 40 per 100,000 or more, 2.5 per cent positivity among those tested, "repeated outbreaks in multiple sectors and settings," an increasing number of large outbreaks and a rising level of community transmission.

These benchmarks are unfortunately either vague or have an "or more" attached, meaning it's hard to say what other figures we should be aiming for beyond the daily case counts — but Ontario's Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe has already said she doesn't expect we will be getting there by May 20.

Let's hope that another two weeks will somehow get us to where health officials want us to be as businesses continue to flounder and residents grow progressively more restless and, frankly, miserable.

Lead photo by

Suhail Akhtar

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