Earlier this morning, Premier Doug Ford declared a State of Emergency in Ontario due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus.
The state of emergency will currently last until March 31.
This declaration includes the prohibition of any organized events of 50+ people and calls on 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
Yesterday, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa “strongly” recommended the closure of bars and restaurants by midnight last night. Suggesting that any bars and restaurants that did not comply with this recommendation could end up facing a fine as high as $25,000 under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Ford’s announcement includes the first stage of the government’s COVID-19 emergency relief package, a $304M fund that will be committed to delivering more beds, assessment centres, medical supplies and ensuring resources for northern, rural and remote communities:
We have also announced the first stage of our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package. Over $304 million has been committed to more beds, assessment centres, medical supplies and ensuring resources for northern, rural and remote communities.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 17, 2020
Ford specified that a total of 75 more critical beds (ICU), 500 post-acute care beds, and the creation of 25 more COVID-19 assessment centres at hospitals throughout the province will be funded.
Despite all of the closures, and the declaration of a State of Emergency, Ford says this is not a provincial shutdown. Saying the vast majority of businesses will not be affected by the order. Pharmacies, grocery stores, connivence stores, public transit, manufacturing facilities, important public services, construction sites, and office buildings will all continue to operate. According to Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health David Williams, shopping malls will also be allowed to remain open for the time being.
Mayor Tory spoke with Premier Ford and assured him he fully supports the action:
Today, Ontario announced it was declaring a province-wide State of Emergency as part of the ongoing response to #COVID19. This declaration will help the province & all cities, including Toronto, protect the health of our residents & further prevent the spread of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/9rvLpmN36r
— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 17, 2020