TORONTO – The entire province of Ontario is going into a four week “emergency brake” shutdown starting this weekend.
Premier Doug Ford says the restrictions will start Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 a.m.
“We’re facing a very serious situation. We will do whatever it takes to protect the people of Ontario,” Ford said.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants of concern, Ford says the province needs to “close the gap” as it awaits thousands of vaccine doses.
“The cost of inaction is simply too high,” the premier added.
A shutdown is different than the grey-lockdown, as the restrictions are much more stringent.
Among the shutdown measures, restaurants will be take out or delivery only, essential retail stores are at 50 per cent capacity and other retail will be at 25 per cent capacity.
Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not allowed and outdoor public events have a cap of five (5) people, except for members of the same household or a single person who lives alone.
Personal care services, like barbers, hairdressers and nail salons, will be closed.
Religious services, weddings and funerals are at 15 per cent capacity indoors and for outdoors it’s the maximum number of people who can stay two meters apart from each other.
For shopping malls, the maximum capacity is 25 per cent per store and food courts are closed.
Public health indicators show that last weekend the COVID-19 case rates – driven by variants of concern – jumped 7.7 per cent to an average of 101.1 cases per 100,000 people.
The number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) has already surpassed the peak of the second wave, which may force hospitals to cancel some scheduled surgeries.