Province-wide shutdown starts Saturday

At a shopping mall in Toronto Ontario people wear masks as they shop on March 17

And the restrictions will not be going away for a while.

Three regions of Quebec, including the provincial capital, are now under a 10-day lockdown that took effect hours before the province reported the highest daily case load since late January.

"The new variants are far more risky than before".

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

When asked about the new restrictions, Ford said early Thursday that it was a "tough decision".

Premier Doug Ford announced a provincewide lockdown, effective April 3 at 12:01 a.m.

While the measures are not as tight as the province-wide lockdown that was imposed in December, they will affect virtually everyone, and the government is asking everyone to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services.

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited, and the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings will be capped to a 5-person maximum.

Capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 15 per cent capacity per room indoors.

Dr. Brown believes schools should be the last to close and first to open because of the impacts the shutdowns have on children.

This morning, a group of more than 150 emergency and intensive care physicians published an open letter addressed to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and top health officials, calling for immediate and decisive action to ease the burden on hospitals.

Ontario going into a month-long 'shutdown' Saturday
Variants of concern are fueling a third wave of the pandemic in Ontario, leading to more hospitalizations and ICU admissions. Essential stores will remain open at 50 percent capacity and non-essential retail can operate at 25 percent capacity.

Outdoor recreational amenities, such as baseball diamonds, batting cages, tennis courts, basketball courts, horse riding facilities, golf courses and driving ranges and more are permitted to open with conditions.

Personal care services such as hair salons are closed.

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

In-person shopping is restricted to 50 per cent capacity for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, stores that primarily sell food, and pharmacies.

Crawley writes that "the only difference between this and the current lockdown provisions now seen in some areas of the province appears to be the closure of patio dining and golf courses, alongside a limit of five people instead of 10 for outdoor gatherings".

The last stay-at-home order and state of emergency in the province lifted in mid-February.

There also won't be many significant changes for those already living in the province's "grey zones" like Peel and Toronto, says Krishana Sankar, the science communication lead for the online platform COVID-19 Resources Canada.

The London region now has 505 active cases.

Ontario's hospital intensive care units had 421 patients critically ill with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, more than at the worst point of the pandemic's second wave.

The new model came as more than 150 critical care doctors published a letter urging Ontario to act to halt a wave of infections there.

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