Published: Sat, April 03, 2021
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With 'alarming surge in COVID-19,' Ontario begins emergency shutdown at midnight

With 'alarming surge in COVID-19,' Ontario begins emergency shutdown at midnight

Non-essential retail can operate at 25 percent capacity.

Some outdoor activities will be allowed such as golf, but team sports will not be permitted. Although the first dose of the vaccine has been demonstrated to offer significant protection, there is still some risk of contracting COVID-19.

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

Ford said the variants of concern are increasing rapidly and that this has become a new pandemic. "We're fighting a new enemy".

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited, and the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings will be capped to a 5-person maximum. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.

Thursday's lockdown will require the closure of hair salons, gyms, and indoor dining in regions not now under such restrictions.

Take-out and delivery options will still be available.

Weddings, religious services, and funerals are limited to 15 per cent occupancy per room, with two metres of social distancing required.

Health unit regions transitioned back to the COVID-19 Response Framework, with five colour-coded levels of varying restrictions.

When asked about the new restrictions, Ford said early Thursday that it was a "tough decision".

Health Minister Christine Elliott says this is not a stay-at-home order, admitting the last one had "tremendous ill effects on children and adults".

Three regions of Quebec, including the provincial capital, are now under a 10-day lockdown that took effect hours before the province reported the highest daily case load since late January.

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.

With the updated ICU numbers and the climbing COVID-19 cases in the province, Soucy says that Ontario is now in its third wave.

"My friends, we're facing a very, very serious situation", said Ford.

"It used to be that one family member, often a parent or grandparent, would be in intensive care while other family members would have caught a much milder form of the disease if at all".

New modelling also shows Ontario could have up to 6,000 new cases a day by the end of April due to the new variants of the virus.

At LHSC there are now five or fewer patients in the ICU.

Ontario's science advisers are suggesting a stay-at-home order is needed to control Ontario's third wave of COVID-19. "The public health measures fall short of what many experts are calling for".

Outdoor fitness classes also briefly resumed in regions under the grey zone.

Ford says schools will remain open during the shutdown. "We have done this before and, by working together, we will make it through to the brighter days that lie ahead".

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy.

Ontario is reporting 2,557 COVID-19 cases Thursday with 23 deaths.

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