Ford orders province-wide shutdown for four weeks

Henrietta Brewer
April 5, 2021

Retail stores are allowed to operate with strict capacity limits.

While the measures are not as tight as the province-wide lockdown that was imposed in December, they will affect virtually everyone, and the government is asking everyone to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services. "... If you can, please order take out or delivery this weekend from a local restaurant".

"Friends, right now we're into a third wave of COVID-19".

When asked about the upcoming announcement of the new restrictions, Ford said Thursday morning that it was a "tough decision".

I know that, over a year into this pandemic, news of a shutdown is frustrating to hear. "We're fighting a new enemy".

Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

Under the province's new shutdown rules, all indoor organized events and social gatherings are prohibited.

Weddings, religious services, and funerals are limited to 15 per cent occupancy per room, with two metres of social distancing required. At least two-thirds of the province's public health units have already been under lockdown (grey zone) or control (red zone) restrictions.

"We're ready to ramp up to 1,500 once we have more vaccines", Ford says, noting millions of additional vaccines are "on the horizon". As Premier, it falls to me to make the tough decisions.

Premier Doug Ford said he is pulling the emergency brake, just as restrictions across the province were easing.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the shutdown does not include a stay-at-home order, because last time there were tremendous ill effects on both children and adults.

The postponed March Break, now scheduled for the week of April 12, is expected to go ahead as planned.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 case count is continuing to climb, with the province reporting 3,009 new COVID-19 cases today (April 3) and 3,089 cases on Good Friday (April 2). The report noted that even with new four-week measures and vaccinations in place, admissions to intensive care units could reach 800 by the end of the month.

"I don't feel safe continuing to work non-essential retail in a third wave", Ghent said.

While the province has discovered thousands of variant mutations, only 2,214 have undergone genome testing in order to be officially categorized.

There were also 23 COVID-related deaths reported on April 1, the highest daily total since February 25.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the province is working to increase hospital and ICU capacities as well. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.

New modelling suggests Ontario needs a four-week stay-at-home order to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants that are deadlier and causing more serious outcomes in younger people.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chairman of the group, says infections in the short term depend on public health measures and vaccination rates.

The four-week minimum of this new shutdown means all of Ontario, including Oakville and Halton Region, will remain in shutdown (unofficially known as the White-Shutdown level) for the rest of April 2021.

Schools will remain open for in-person learning, although some Ontario students have been learning virtually since September.

Unifor called on all provinces to mandate paid time off to allow workers to get vaccinated when it is their turn to do so.

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