The government is asking Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only.
"Friends, right now we're into a third wave of COVID-19". During a news conference on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford hinted restrictions were coming.
I know that, over a year into this pandemic, news of a shutdown is frustrating to hear.
"We're now fighting a new enemy". The number of people allowed to gather outdoors has also decreased from 10 to five.
Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-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.
Weddings, funerals and other religious services are capped at 15 per cent capacity indoors.
"We will get through this if we all work together, and I assure you that brighter days are on the horizon", said Premier Ford in closing.
However, unlike in January, the province isn't imposing a stay-at-home order that would close non-essential businesses, said Health Minister Christine Elliott, citing the order's "tremendous ill effect" on the mental health of children and adults. I'm the one who has to make the tough decisions.
"It's spreading far more quickly than it was before and we can not vaccinate quickly enough to break this third wave". "But the bottom line is that we need more time", said Ford.
Ford is expected to announce another provincewide shutdown due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, more than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to the government on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures. "They spread faster, and they do more harm than the virus we were fighting past year".
Dr. Michael Warner, the Medical Director of Critical Care at the Michael Garron Hospital, has been among the physicians openly critical of the government's actions to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Unlike back in December, the province is not issuing a stay-at-home order for Ontarians.
For more than a week in Ontario, the daily case numbers have been more than 2,000.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the province is working to increase hospital and ICU capacities as well. "That is our best protection against this deadly virus".
Variants of concern are fueling a third wave of the pandemic in Ontario, leading to more hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
Brown said the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities, hampering its impact as an effective strategy to fight the pandemic.
Under this shutdown, schools and daycares will remain open, however time-limited public health and workplace safety measures will be imposed on other activities to combat this aggressive virus and save lives.
Outdoor fitness classes also briefly resumed in regions under the grey zone.
Ford defended his decision at the time, saying he was "very, very concerned", adding that "we're loosening it up, just a little bit".
The province reports that 321,469 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now considered immunized against the disease.
Schools will remain open for in-person learning while spring break will still go ahead the week of April 12th.
"In the more heavy burdened areas, like Toronto and Peel, not much has really changed so I don't expect to see much change in the case burden", says Bogoch.
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