Ontario to enter 3rd province-wide shutdown on April 3rd, 2021

Henrietta Strickland
April 5, 2021

More information about supports being made available to businesses is available at https:// www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs.

The Ford government is implementing an "emergency brake" across all 34 public health units starting on Saturday that will be in place for at least four weeks and force some non-essential services to close, including in-person dining and personal care services such as barbers, nail salons, and gyms.

"We're ready to ramp up to 1,500 once we have more vaccines", Ford says, noting millions of additional vaccines are "on the horizon".

"This is a new pandemic. They spread faster and they do more hard than the virus we were fighting previous year".

Health unit regions transitioned back to the COVID-19 Response Framework, with five colour-coded levels of varying restrictions.

As expected, Doug Ford has announced Ontario will enter an "emergency brake shutdown" for the next month.

Outdoor dining, including on patios, is also banned across the province.

In-person shopping for retail establishments such as supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores and pharmacies is reduced to 50 per cent capacity, while the capacity limit for all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, cannabis stores, hardware stores and garden centres is reduced to 25 per cent.

All indoor and outdoor sports and recreation facilities are also prohibited from operating.

Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that the provincial government is fully committed to keeping schools open and that students will return to "elevated" infection prevention and control measures.

Today, there are 954 new cases in Toronto, 434 in Peel, 348 in York Region, 205 in Ottawa, 146 in Hamilton, and 91 in Halton.

"It's spreading far more quickly than it was before and we can not vaccinate quickly enough to break this third wave".

She said the latest shutdown stands to further erode her struggling industry, saying stylists and other beauty workers can't hold on much longer.

The data also showed that those who are at the highest risk are not being vaccinated quickly enough.

How is this "emergency brake" different than the stay-at-home order a year ago?

The spread of variants threatens the province's health system's ability to deal with regular intensive care admissions and care for all patients, he said.

He said hospitalizations in Ontario have surged by almost 42 per cent in the last two weeks.

There were 796 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario as of Saturday, with 451 patients in intensive care and 261 on a ventilator.

Ontarians need to limit their movements, especially between regions with different levels of community transmission, said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

He says the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities, which is delaying its anti-pandemic impact.

The shutdown rules are quite similar to the older version of the grey zone, the strictest tier in the province's COVID-19 framework.

The modelling has the stay-at-home order beginning on Monday.

The opposition NDP accused Ford of walking Ontario into the shutdown "with eyes wide open". "That is our best protection against this deadly virus".

"He marched us right into grave danger. The public health measures fall short of what many experts are calling for".

The measures were introduced to combat what Premier Doug Ford calls an "alarming" spike in COVID-19 infections and are set to last for four weeks.

The Premier said that it was not just Ontario that was in this situation, but that a third wave of the pandemic was sweeping North America. It was copy-edited after that.

This story was updated at 4:31 p.m.to include comment from the Ontario NDP.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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