Ontario to begin 4-week lockdown Saturday across 34 public health units

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

One notable change from the January 2021 shutdown is the province will not issue a stay-at-home order this time.

During the emergency shutdown, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government announced Thursday that it's putting the entire province under new restrictions for 28 days.

Also announced today were additional supports for business owners impacted by shutdown measures, including an extension of the deadline to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to April 7.

"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern", Ford said in a statement.

The opposition NDP accused Ford of walking Ontario into the shutdown "with eyes wide open". Updates on all county services and facilities will continue to be posted to the COVID-19 section of our website at Northumberland.ca/COVID19. Ford notes that 70 additional beds will be made available at the Toronto Congress Centre to provide some relief at hospitals and free up beds for COVID patients.

"This is the new highest number of COVID patients in critical care in this pandemic", Anthony Dale, the president of the Ontario Hospital Association, said in a tweet. "Even if we had unlimited ICU capacity, allowing these (variants of concern) to spread exponentially is unethical".

The Education Minister confirmed that schools will remain open across the province until further notice. "And the fact that we have not been able to reopen up to today's date or the 12th, is what they promised us, and now it's back into this zone where you still have some things that are non-essential opening is outrageous", Kristen Gale, creator and CEO of The Ten Spot Beauty Bars told CP24 Tonight.

"The bottom line is that we need more time", he adds.

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

In addition, Ford says the government is doing everything they can to keep kids in class.

"This is a top priority", said Ford. While normally a time for celebration with family and friends, I am appealing to residents of Northumberland to please stay within your own households this weekend.

A government spokesperson said the measures are somewhat different from those in the grey "lockdown" tier of Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions system.

Essential stores will remain open at 50 percent capacity and non-essential retail can operate at 25 percent capacity.

All other personal care services, such as barbers and hair salons will be closed, along with casinos and bingo halls, cinemas, and performing arts facilities.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 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.

The Ontario-wide shutdown begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

"We're now seeing a almost 14 per cent increase in hospitalizations, with COVID-19 patients in the ICU increasing dramatically", he says, adding Ontario is facing a very serious situation. "We've got a lot of case numbers, and that's what's giving us the most current information on where this pandemic has gone".

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