Latest provincial COVID restrictions cause confusion

·2 min read

So can we go outside or no? Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s updated COVID stay-at-home restrictions and what activities are now permitted, or not...

On Friday, the provincial government announced stricter restrictions to the stay-at-home order. Outdoor gatherings are only permitted by members of the same household to a maximum of five, and may include one other person if that person lives alone. All construction considered non-essential was shut down, and all parks and outdoor recreation centres were forced to close. Additionally, the province announced that police and municipal by-law officers were going to be able to start enforcing the rules, and that police would have the authority to stop drivers and ask them why they were not at home, where they were going, and charge a fine when necessary.

The provincial government received immediate backlash on these new regulations on two fronts. Firstly, healthcare professionals spoke out about the closure of outdoor spaces, noting that transmission outdoors is exceptionally low and that giving fines to people outdoors will only encourage them to hide indoors, which is significantly more dangerous in causing the spread of COVID-19.

Secondly, police forces all across the province responded saying they would not be randomly checking their residents. Many people expressed concerns that giving this power to police would only further jeopardize minority groups.

Premier Doug Ford and his team quickly retracted the rules after hearing the feedback, reopening parks and playgrounds and pulling the random checking by police.

So what actually is allowed with the new restrictions? Many outdoor recreation areas will remain open to use, as long as a physical distance of two meters can be maintained. Locally, this includes facilities like parks, playgrounds, play structures and the off-leash dog park. Sites that are now closed are (including but not limited to) outdoor sports facilities, such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, the skate and pump park, baseball diamonds and soccer field, as well as picnic sites.

The stay-at-home order has also been extended by two weeks, until May 20.

As of Wednesday, April 21, the Township of Uxbridge has 38 active cases of COVID-19, all of which are in home isolation. No cases are reported to be in the hospital. Vaccinations are ongoing, with several local pharmacies offering appointments (check individual pharmacy websites for details), and the Durham Region vaccine clinics continue to rotate throughout North Durham. To book an appointment, visit durhamvaccinebooking.ca

Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos