TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford has extended Ontario’s province-wide stay-at-home order to at least June 2, insisting the measures are necessary to “save the summer” and curb the spread of COVID-19. The Premier confirmed the extension at a news conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday afternoon.
“While we are seeing positive trends as a result of the public health measures put in place, we cannot afford to let up yet,” Ford said in a news release issued Thursday afternoon, adding the province will consider re-opening outdoor amenities on June 2.
The province’s stay-at-home order was initially implemented on April 8, as cases of COVID-19 due to the B117 variant were growing exponentially, and was supposed to last 28 days. Shortly after it went into effect, though, it was extended until at least May 20.
- No indoor and outdoor dining. Takeout, delivery and drive-thru options are allowed
- Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum — except for gatherings with members of the same household or gatherings of members of one household and one other person who lives alone.
- Limits on in-person shopping: a 50-per-cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and a 25-per-cent limit for all other retail including big box stores.
- No personal care services.
- Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness, with very limited exceptions.
- The closure of day camps.
- Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services to 15-per-cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
“What was supposed to be a 28-day closure will have doubled to 56 days by June 3,” reads a statement from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “Only 25 per cent of Ontario businesses are at normal revenue levels, while bills continue to pile up.”
The statement also calls for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to be immediately reinstated with a third payment and a broad expansion of eligibility. “Every business affected by stay-at-home orders should have access to financial help.”
In the CFIB statement, Dan Kelly, president, CFIB says while there is reason for optimism that this really will be the last stay-at-home order extension, “we have yet to see a comprehensive re-opening plan. Waiting until at least early June to see a plan will be too late. Businesses need to know now exactly when and how they will be able to re-open to customers, and what metrics the Ontario government will use to further relax restrictions. We urge the government to follow Saskatchewan and make a re-opening plan public immediately.”