On the first day of Ontario's COVID-19 stay-at-home order, set to be in place for four weeks, people in the province took to social media to express concerns about what "essential" products really are.
As part of these new restrictions, in-person shopping at discount and big box stores is restricted to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only.
Images from Ontario Dollarama stores started being shared online, with people seemingly frustrated with the restricted items.
#Dollarama is essential to low income folks. Folks in legislated poverty rely on Dollarama to get things that others can afford to buy elsewhere.
By Ontario restricting the ability to purchase these items (e.g kitchen, school, bathroom, etc) it denies folks access to essentials. pic.twitter.com/YARDG9CLgv
— Sarah Colero🥄 (@Sarah_Colero) April 8, 2021
This im definitely pro lockdown and believe we arent doing enough BUT Dollorama should NOT be closed or limited. It's as essential as a grocery store for some people so they can afford to simply exist
— Darkcobra He/Him (@darkcobrabws) April 8, 2021
Specifically, many people were not pleased to see school supplies blocked off as non-essential items.
Someone I follow posted this this on Instagram. Dollarama doesn’t do curbside pickup. So, there goes any hopes of accessible school supplies during exam seasons and for law students, bar studying pic.twitter.com/t2qYi8ibD2
— Lawin (@LawinSalah) April 8, 2021
So. Schools are open but you can't buy school supplies at Dollarama. pic.twitter.com/8fa3FQE5sW
— Taylor Shanahan (@mmeshanahan) April 8, 2021
If it’s too dangerous to buy school supplies at Dollarama maybe the schools shouldn’t be open? pic.twitter.com/W2hVcvXnCP
— Michelle Shaughnessy (@Michellesfunny) April 8, 2021
People in Ontario also started sharing blocked off non-essential items at other large retailers, including Walmart.
Went to Walmart this morning to pick up allergy meds. Decided to take a stroll to see what was considered non-essential. pic.twitter.com/BA9bXkpJ7U
— Vivian Kaye (@itsviviankaye) April 8, 2021
— Mr Grey (@mrgreyev) April 8, 2021
Walmart really blocked off pretty much everything in the store except groceries... so me buying diapers for my daughter isn’t essential??? pic.twitter.com/u1ey5g85Ci
— CLOVER G ☘️🇨🇦🇻🇨 (@CloverOG) April 8, 2021
As concerns around COVID-19 cases in Ontario continue to increase, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, stressed at a press conference on Thursday that the trends in the province are "very troubling."
Ontario reported 3,295 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 19 more deaths across the province. This is the highest daily case increase in the province since mid-January.