Ontario COVID-19 shutdown starts Boxing Day

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces a province-wide shutdown on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. The shutdown will take effect on Boxing Day. (Premier of Ontario/YouTube via Newswatch Group)

TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced a “province-wide shutdown” that will start Boxing Day (Dec. 26).

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Ford says the shutdown will last for 28 days for southern and eastern Ontario. It will be 14 days in Northern Ontario.

It will take effect on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m.

“If we fail to take action now, the consequences could be catastrophic,” the premier said about enacting the “temporary, one-time measure.”

As for students at all public and private schools, elementary school students will be learning remotely until Monday, Jan. 11 and high school students will continue to work remotely for two extra weeks, returning to class on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

What it will mean for you:

  • Indoor public events and social gatherings only with the people you live with. Singles are able to have “exclusive close contact” with another household.
  • In-person shopping at most retail settings is prohibited. Curbside and delivery can continue.
  • Big box stores selling groceries are reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Other grocery stores and others selling essentials are reduced to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited. Takeout, drive through and delivery are allowed to continue.
  • Shopping malls have to restrict indoor access. Essential retail, such as pharmacy and groceries, are allowed to be open. Other stores are allowed to have a designated indoor pickup area by appointment.

The shutdown will also prevent Quebecers from flooding “in droves” across the border when their two-week shutdown takes place, Ford explained.