Additional COVID-19 restrictions coming for Ontario

Carrie Guzman
April 17, 2021

Ford's announcement that Ontario's stay-at-home order will remain in effect for two weeks longer than initially scheduled came hours after the province's science advisory table warned on Friday that a six-week lockdown was needed to halt the worrying increase of COVID-19 cases.

Canada's Ontario recently announced sweeping police powers in a bid to enforce stay-at-home orders.

Inter-border travel restrictions will be stepped up, and travel between the provinces will only be permitted for work, medical reasons and the transport of goods.

Police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and goal for not being at their residence.

- Outdoor recreational facilities, such as golf courses, tennis courts and playgrounds, will close.

Places of worship can have a maximum of 10 people indoors, outdoor recreation amenities are closed, and non-essential construction has been shut-down.

"Police will also have the authority to stop a vehicle to inquire about an individual's reason for leaving their residence". We need to do it again, if we want our summer back.

Health Minister Christine Elliott also announced vaccines would be redirected to hot spots, with 25 per cent of future vaccine allocations going to 12 public health regions with higher rates of death, hospitalization and transmission.

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On Friday alone, Ontario declared 4,812 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths.

The new restrictions do not include mandated paid sick days, which labour groups and public health experts have said would protect vulnerable essential workers and help stop the spread of the virus in workplaces and the community at large.

Ford also urged the federal government to clamp down on global travel.

Under the extended stay-at-home order, everyone in Ontario is still requireed to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that can not be done remotely.

"We have made the hard decision to give police and bylaw officers special authorities to enforce public health measures for the duration of the stay-at-home order", Ford said.

Without stronger measures, the modeling predicts that Ontario will see new daily caseloads escalate to 20,000 in the coming months. "It comes down to three things: limiting mobility, enforcing the rules, and getting vaccines into arms". We need to hang in there and hunker down for a number of more weeks.

Today's cases are lower than Friday's 4,812 - the highest single-day case count to date - Thursday's 4,736, Monday's 4,401, and Sunday's 4,456, but lower than Wednesday's 4,156 and Tuesday's 3,670.

Furey says that he has been in contact with Premier Doug Ford several times, and is working with officials from Ontario and the federal government.

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