At a press conference this afternoon, Premier Ford declared a state of emergency in the province of Ontario, to last no fewer than 28 days. Owing to the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in the province, a stay-at-home order will take effect on Thursday, January 14th, at 12:01 a.m. Ontarians must only leave their homes for essential trips, such as purchasing groceries or for medical treatments. Schools in some regions will remain closed longer, although Niagara schools are still scheduled to re-open on January 25th.
An “inspection blitz” of big-box stores will start in the coming days, the Premier warned, with businesses found in violation of regulations to be punished under the law.
Residential evictions will be suspended for the duration of the state of emergency.
Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people, with limited exceptions.
All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
Non-essential workers in offices must now work from home.
Health care services, including dental offices, physiotherapy and chiropractors remain open.
These restrictions are in addition to those already announced in the Provincewide Shutdown.
At a morning briefing, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table revealed that the existing measures had failed to restrict mobility and contacts between people. Another 2,903 cases of COVID-19, including 246 in Niagara, and 41 more deaths of people with the illness were reported today. At the current rate of spread, the provincial healthcare system would be overwhelmed before vaccination has a chance to be effective.
Businesses with questions about the restrictions and their obligations under them can call the Stop the Spread Business Information line at 1-888-444-3659.
If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, or chat to Public Health online. For testing, call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) for information on test centres in Niagara and to book an appointment.
The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.