Ontario now under provincewide 'shutdown' to control spread of COVID-19

Henrietta Brewer
April 4, 2021

Non-essential retail stores are permitted to open but with occupancy capped at 25 per cent of maximum, while essential retail outlets such as grocery stores are limited to 50 per cent occupancy.

Toronto and some other regions are already under similar rules.

While the shutdown comes with its own set of new or renewed regulations and restrictions, some of those are already in play here in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region, where Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has already extended a Section 22 Class Order that limits the number of people allowed to gather in one space to five, both indoors and outdoors. "The variants of concern are spreading rapidly. They spread faster and do more harm than the virus we were fighting previous year", Ontario Premier Doug Ford said during a news conference in Toronto on Thursday. "Please understand folks, this decision weighs extremely heavy on me". He also mentioned the prevalence of cases involving variants of concern, which have also been steadily increasing over the past month.

"The new variants are far more risky than before".

Ontario health officials are reporting almost 2,600 new cases of COVID-19 for first time in more than two months.

Schools will also remain open.

Variants of concern are also affecting younger patients: nearly half of those admitted to ICUs from March 15 to March 21 were under age 60. "Some of those people are going to get worse, are going to get sicker, or go to the ICU", said Soucy.

Meanwhile, only 64% of the over-80 population is vaccinated, excluding those at long-term care facilities.

A total of 2,424,063 vaccine doses have been given in the province so far. There will be prohibitions on indoor and outdoor dining, personal care services and sports and recreation services, and restrictions will be introduced for retail settings, and for wedding and funeral services and religious services.

Canada's coronavirus efforts were complicated on Monday when health officials across Canada suspended the use of AstraZeneca Plc's vaccine for people under 55 for fear of blood clots.

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

"We need more runway to allow our vaccination rollout to get where we need it, and that means we need to take action now", said Ford.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 case count surged back up over the 3,000 mark on Saturday, hours after a new provincewide "shutdown" took effect in a move to bring soaring infection rates back under control.

Other reports by iNewsToday