Statement from Warden Bob Crate on provincial shutdown — RELEASE

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces the province-wide “emergency brake” on Thursday Apr. 1 2021

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the decision said Wednesday the shutdown is expected to begin on April 3 and will last at least a month.

The so-called "emergency break" provisions take effect Saturday across the province.

Ford noted the new variants are "far more unsafe than before, spread faster and do more harm than the virus we were fighting previous year", and younger people are ending up in the hospital.

Premier Doug Ford announced he was implementing the "provincewide emergency brake" Thursday due to an increase in COVID-19 and COVID-19 variant cases. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. "That is our best protection against this deadly virus".

Ontario isn't the only jurisdiction tightening restrictions as COVID cases rise.

The lockdown for Canada's most populous province will fall short of enacting a stay-at-home order, which new government modeling released earlier on Thursday suggested would be necessary to avoid a doubling to some 6,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by late April.

Ontarian's are also being asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities and employers are being requested to make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not permitted, and outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.

Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15% occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors.

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.

Ford says schools will remain open during the shutdown.

Businesses not permitted to open include: museums, personal care services day camps, casinos and bingo halls, concert venues and more.

Schools remain open because, the government says, they are crucial to students' mental health.

The new restrictions are virtually identical to those now in place in areas already in lockdown. There will also be further restrictions on people gathering.

Under the province's new shutdown rules, all indoor organized events and social gatherings are prohibited.

Six regions are already in Grey-Lockdown, including Toronto, Peel, and Hamilton, while another 16 areas are in the Red-Control zone when it comes to provincial restrictions.

The London region now has 505 active cases.

The move comes after intensive care admissions at Ontario hospitals reached a new high this week, with at least 421 COVID-19 patients now in the ICU.

Ontario reported 2,557 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases in the province to 352,460, including 7,389 deaths.

Critical Care Services Ontario counted 421 hospital patients with COVID-19-related critical illness in intensive care as of midnight after 32 patients were admitted to ICUs on Tuesday.

The previous peak of 420 came in mid-January, during the height of the second wave of the pandemic.



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