Less than a week after a third provincial shutdown was imposed, further restrictions and a stay-at-home order have been issued and will be in effect for four weeks. A state of emergency has been declared, effective today.
The stay-at-home order is effective Thursday, April 8. It's part of a two-pronged approach, says Premier Doug Ford, explaining stepping up vaccines is the other part of the approach.
He said mobile clinics are being mobilized as part of the strategy. He said vaccines will be made available to anybody over 18 in hot spot communities and workplaces.
As part of the stay-at-home order, non-essential retail stores will only be open for curbside pickup. For the first time in the pandemic, big box stores will be limited to only selling essential items.
These changes are in addition to the emergency brake measures that took effect April 3 in all 34 health units across the province.
However, after the shutdown measures were in place the government faced criticism after a video of a packed Yorkdale mall surfaced.
The province has reported more than 3,000 new COVID cases per day since Sunday, with 3,215 new cases today.
Yesterday, Ford hinted that further restrictions were on the way and some would be targeted at York, Peel and Toronto regions, which make up about 60 per cent of the provincial case numbers.
The shutdown measures include:
- Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited. The capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings is a maximum of five people, except for gatherings with members or the same household or gatherings with one household and one person from another household who lives alone.
- In-person shopping is restricted to 50 per cent capacity for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, stores that primarily sell food, and pharmacies. The capacity is 25 per cent for al other retail, including big box stores.
- Personal care services are prohibited.
- Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited. Restaurants are allowed to operate by take-out, drive-through and delivery.
- Gyms are closed.
- Capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 15 per cent capacity per room indoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
The last stay-at-home order and state of emergency in the province lifted in mid-February.
Health unit regions transitioned back to the COVID-19 Response Framework, with five colour-coded levels of varying restrictions.
When the last stay-at-home order lifted, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit moved to the red - control level. The restrictions increased to grey-lockdown for one week from March 1 to 7, and then dropped back down to red.
Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 8,129 cases of COVID-19 with 7,168 of those cases recovered and 203 cases ending in death. There are 665 active, lab-confirmed cases in the region, most of which are in Simcoe County.