Ontario announces stay at home order, second state of emergency

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DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The province of Ontario is imposing a stay at home order effective this Thursday, January 14th, and has also announced a provincial state of emergency declaration, effective immediately, for the second time since the pandemic started.

“Effective Thursday, January 14th, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home,” read a provincial press release sent out on Tuesday, January 12th.

The province had previously declared a state of emergency on March 17th, 2020. Under the state of emergency now in place, law enforcement officials have the ability to make sure the stay at home order is followed by Ontarians.

“Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the province will provide authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce,” the press release read.

It also gives enforcement officials “the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house.”

Outdoor social gatherings have also been limited to a maximum of five people “with limited exceptions.”

New measures will also impact some businesses, with one measure reading “hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.”

“There will be soon, some really dark days ahead, some turbulent waters. But we will get through this. The Ontario spirit has lifted us through worse. The people of Ontario have battled through worse,” Premier Doug Ford said, at a press conference.

The Premier reiterated the message the province has been stating for months of “stay home, save lives.”

Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper