With Ontario facing dangerously high rates of COVID-19 that threaten more deaths than seen during the first wave, Premier Doug Ford declared a second provincial emergency Tuesday and announced a slate of new restrictions in an effort to bring the virus under control.
Here are the new restrictions in place effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday:
- Ontario will be placed under a stay-at-home order, which will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy; accessing health-care services; exercising; or doing essential work.
- There will be no in-class instruction until Feb. 10 at the earliest for the following public health units: Toronto, York Region, Peel Region, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex.
- All businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home does so.
- Outdoor gatherings are restricted to five people, consistent with the first-wave lockdown rules.
- Masks remain mandatory indoors at open businesses or organizations. Masks are also now being recommended outdoors where physical distancing of more than two metres is not possible.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, will be forced to close by 8 p.m. ET and open no earlier than 7 a.m. These limits don’t apply to stores that primarily sell food, gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores or restaurants providing take-out or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
- No restrictions on the purchase of non-essential items.
The province says the measures are in effect for all of Ontario and will remain in place until at least Feb. 11.