All non-essential businesses across Ontario are being ordered to close in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday.
The order will come into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm, giving non-essential businesses the chance to prepare, and will be in place for at least 14 days.
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As first reported by the Globe and Mail, Ford says he will release the list of businesses that will be allowed to stay open at this time on Tuesday.
Today I announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces to slow the spread of COVID-19. These measures will come into effect on Tues March 24th at midnight. People will still have access to medications and essentials, but every Ontarian must do their part.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 23, 2020
However, grocery stores, pharmacies, and takeout restaurants will still be allowed to stay open, as well as essential manufacturer and supply chain providers.
“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” Ford said.
This move comes less than a week after Ford announced the province was under a state of emergency, which saw the prohibition of any organized events of 50+ people and the following closures:
- Facilities providing recreational programs
- Private Schools
- Licensed child care centres
- Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery permitted)
- Theatres, cinemas and concert venues
This news comes on the same day that provincial health officials reported 78 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 503 in Ontario, which includes eight resolved cases and six deaths.