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Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a second state of emergency, and a stay-at-home order that will go into effect this Thursday.
“Everyone must stay home to save lives,” Ford said.
Schools in Windsor, Peel, Toronto, York and Hamilton will remain closed for in-person learning until Feb. 10. By Jan. 20, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will provide recommendations for in-class learning for the remaining regions.
What Ontarians can and cannot do
This stay-at-home order means everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, for exercise, or for essential work.
The following additional public health measures will also be put in place:
Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are restricted to a limit of five people
Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open
All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and close no later than 8:00 p.m. - this does not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants offering takeout or delivery
Non-essential construction restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health said the province is asking businesses to make sure any employee who can work from home, does so moving forward.
How will these new rules be enforced?
The premier said that “enforcement and inspections will increase” and that “bad actors” will get fined.
The premier spoke about large retailers, big-box stores, that have “crazy line ups.” The province will be starting an “inspection blitz” of these stores in the coming days.
“I promise you, if we find any issues there will be consequences, “ Ford said. “We’ll come down hard on these big box stores if we have to and this enforcement, it will continue for as long as necessary.”
Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s solicitor general, said if employees in occupational and retail settings are found to not be complying with the order, enforcement personnel have the authority to issues a fine. They also have the authority to disperse crowds, both indoors and outdoors.
“If people are found not complying with these orders they will be subject to fines and prosecution,” Jones said, adding that this may include up to a year in jail.
How are people in Ontario reacting to the new order?
People in Ontario shared their thoughts about the stay-at-home order and new measures on Twitter, many indicating that they are not satisfied with the information being provided by the provincial government.
A state of emergency & stay-at-home orders may be needed in Ontario, but we must be cautious.
Low-income racialized people (many are essential workers) have a history of being over-policed. They've also been hardest hit by #COVID19.
We can't police our way out of this pandemic.
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) January 12, 2021
Telling Ontarians that we're gonna see 10k new cases of COVID a day by February while continuing to allow outdoor gatherings and asking Wal-Mart and Costco to close just half an hour earlier than they normally do kind of undermines this "Ontario is in a state of emergency" thing.
— Dead Sea Squirrel (@the_ns) January 12, 2021
Ford says he doesn't believe in a curfew because he doesn't want police harassing you for pulling out of your driveway after 8 p.m. But a stay-at-home order means police can theoretically harass you for pulling out of your driveway at 2 p.m. How does this make sense??
— Robyn Urback (@RobynUrback) January 12, 2021
So basically nothing really changes in @fordnation's newly declared "State of Emergency" except now it's a "State of Emergency" and not the State of Chill we've been in up until now? https://t.co/LJt7Q39dVX
— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) January 12, 2021
This Tim Hortons dark roast campaign is the perfect rollout for pandemic Ontario. It's ill-timed, confusing, and involves doing the same thing that's failed badly twice already, but adding a new slogan. Could have been planned by Doug Ford himself. #onpoli #BoldestComeback
— Jeff Rybak🍁😷 (@JeffRybak) January 12, 2021
"i'm not blaming anyone" says doug ford, whose one and only move today is asking individual citizens to change their individual behaviour
— Rebecca Tucker (@RebeccaTee) January 12, 2021