Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement declaring a state of emergency for the province, at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario declares state of emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario has reported a total of 177 cases of COVID-19 early Tuesday

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, theatres, libraries and banning public events with over 50 people.

“We’re facing an unprecedented time in our history,” Ford said. “This was a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions.”

The declaration’s intent is to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and avoid overwhelming the health-care system, Ford said.

Effective immediately, the province ordered the closure of all facilities providing indoor recreation programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed childcare centres, all theatres, cinemas and concert venues, and all bars and restaurants except to provide takeout food and delivery.

Ontario previously ordered all public schools closed for two weeks following March break.

The emergency order also bans public events of over 50 people, including parades, events and services within places of worship. It is in place until March 31.

Shopping malls are not included, but Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said he is monitoring that situation.

Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, public transit, manufacturing facilities, construction sites and office buildings will continue to operate, Ford said.

“I want to be very clear about what this means and what this doesn’t mean: This is not a provincial shutdown,” Ford said. “The vast majority of businesses, including those most vital to day-to-day life will not be affected by this order.”

Ontario has set aside a $100-million contingency fund, and is receiving $200 million from the federal government. That money is all being directed to health-care resources, Ford said, and a provincial support package for businesses is in the works.

The money will be used to open 75 more critical care beds in hospitals, as well as 500 post-acute care beds and to help hospitals set up 25 more COVID-19 assessment centres.

Ontario is also purchasing more personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and surgical gowns for front-line health workers, as well as more ventilators.

There will also be more money for long-term care homes for additional staffing and infection control measures, and a fund is being set up to provide respite care and child-care services for front-line workers in COVID-19 assessment centres.

Scrapping time-of-use electricity pricing is being looked at, Ford said, as people are now largely at home during the hours with peak rates.

Ontario has reported a total of 177 cases of COVID-19, though that number is set to be updated later Tuesday morning.

Borders, cases, bans: What you need to know about Canada and B.C.’s COVID-19 response

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Red Deer remains at two active COVID-19 cases

Alberta confirms 94 new cases over past two days

Lacombe Tourism, LPAC host Canada Day mobile concert

Travelling show brings Canada Day to resident’s doorsteps

Ellis Bird Farm celebrates Canada Day and prepares for ‘a good summer’

Purple Martin birdhouse rededication highlights celebration

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PODCAST: The Expert tackles the return of sports

Cam Moon, Joe Whitbread, Byron Hackett and Todd Vaughan discuss how sports can come back

2 arrested in Wendy’s fire after Rayshard Brooks’ shooting

2 arrested in Wendy’s fire after Rayshard Brooks’ shooting

Florida officer fired after bodycam shows him hitting woman

Florida officer fired after bodycam shows him hitting woman

Democrats say troop threats should be pursued ‘relentlessly’

Democrats say troop threats should be pursued ‘relentlessly’

Epstein pal arrested, accused of luring girls for sex abuse

Epstein pal arrested, accused of luring girls for sex abuse

July added to COVID-19 commercial rent-relief program

July added to COVID-19 commercial rent-relief program

Auto sales down in June, but rebounding as Canadians venture out on the road

Auto sales down in June, but rebounding as Canadians venture out on the road

US issues guidelines but no new rules for safe air travel

US issues guidelines but no new rules for safe air travel

Most Read