What you need to know about Ontario's new COVID-19 restrictions

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2021

14, at 12:01 a.m., a host of new measures will take effect aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

As part of a long list of COVID-19 restrictions announced by the province on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford says local and provincial law enforcement will be ramped up as part of Ontario's stay-at-home order.

The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.

It is now being recommended that individuals wear a face covering or mask when they are outdoors and can not physically distance from others.

Ontario schools are closed until at least January 25, with schools in the hardest hit areas including much of the Greater Toronto Area, and those in Windsor, Ont., to remain closed until mid-February.

Ford says he knows everyone "wants to return to normal", but stressed the health-care system is "on the brink of collapse".

"I know the actions we've announced today are hard but they're absolutely necessary", Ford said in an afternoon news conference.

The news was more positive on the economic front, as the leaders of Canada's top banks expressed confidence that an economic rebound is on the horizon, especially given the arrival of promising vaccines.

The province has issued a state of emergency, effective immediately.

That data, released on December 21, showed that if COVID-19 case rates continued to grow between one to three per cent, the province would have 3,000 to 5,000 daily cases by the end of January.

The latest modelling by the Ontario science advisory table predicts the daily mortality rate due to COVID-19 will double from around 50 deaths a day to around 100.

More than half of the intensive care units in the province are full or close to full.

Toronto's Mayor, John Tory, has said he would like to see more businesses closed, including big-box stores, so that people have fewer reasons to leave their homes.

Steini Brown, says care homes have seen over 1,100 deaths in the second wave so far. Quebec warned Monday that its hospitals are so stretched doctors might soon be forced to decide who gets a ventilator and who doesn't.

ICU occupancy by COVID-19 patients is now over 400 beds and is projected to be as high as 1,000 beds by early February which has the potential to overwhelm Ontario's hospitals.

The provincial government pledged last week to give COVID-19 vaccines by January 21 to all long-term care residents, workers and caregivers in hot-spot regions.

There are also growing concerns regarding the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19, which has been detected parts of Canada, including Ontario, which deteced eight new cases on Tuesday.

The province has also announced new restrictions for the construction industry.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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