Four-week provincewide shutdown confirmed

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In the last ten days, infections of COVID-19 have surged in our province, with record numbers crowding Ontario's intensive care units.

Ontario is pulling its emergency brake and putting the province into at least a 4-week long shutdown beginning Saturday.

"We need to take action now", says Ford, noting the situation is not unique to Ontario, as provinces across the country as well as some states are facing similar challenges". As Premier, it falls on me.

"I'm asking everyone to only gather with your immediate households because, my friends, I want us to have a good summer and these steps the next four weeks are our best chance to save lives and to make sure this summer we can get things open and get back to our lives".

The provincewide shutdown will come into effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

"This is a new pandemic. We're fighting a new enemy".

Variants of concern are fueling a third wave of the pandemic in Ontario, leading to more hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

"We have a ton of people now who are sick, most of those because of the COVID-19 variants in particular".

More than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to the government on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures.

Unifor called on all provinces to mandate paid time off to allow workers to get vaccinated when it is their turn to do so.

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Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3

Retail stores will see limits on capacity while restaurants will be restricted to takeout, delivery and drive-through service, the premier said.

Schools will stay open through the 28-day period, save for a previously scheduled one-week break, Education Minister Stephen Leece said Thursday morning.

She said stay-at-home-orders were not considered because the provincial government has already seen how "detrimental" those measures can be for both children and adults. She added, that's why the government chose an emergency shutdown rather than a lockdown.

Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

Supermarkets will have a capacity of 50 per cent, while all other retail businesses have a capacity of 25 per cent. Outdoor dining, including on patios, is also banned across the province.

Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited.

All regions across the province of Ontario will be entering a sweeping shutdown as of April 3 to curb the spread of risky variants of concern, and that means new indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also come into effect.

Requiring day camps to close.

Capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 15 per cent capacity per room indoors. There will also be an earlier curfew - 8 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m. - to further discourage social gatherings.

The government says it will evaluate the impacts of the measures throughout the next four weeks to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.



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