Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement declaring a state of emergency for the province, at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario declares state of emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario has reported a total of 177 cases of COVID-19 early Tuesday

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, theatres, libraries and banning public events with over 50 people.

“We’re facing an unprecedented time in our history,” Ford said. “This was a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions.”

The declaration’s intent is to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and avoid overwhelming the health-care system, Ford said.

Effective immediately, the province ordered the closure of all facilities providing indoor recreation programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed childcare centres, all theatres, cinemas and concert venues, and all bars and restaurants except to provide takeout food and delivery.

Ontario previously ordered all public schools closed for two weeks following March break.

The emergency order also bans public events of over 50 people, including parades, events and services within places of worship. It is in place until March 31.

Shopping malls are not included, but Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said he is monitoring that situation.

Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, public transit, manufacturing facilities, construction sites and office buildings will continue to operate, Ford said.

“I want to be very clear about what this means and what this doesn’t mean: This is not a provincial shutdown,” Ford said. “The vast majority of businesses, including those most vital to day-to-day life will not be affected by this order.”

Ontario has set aside a $100-million contingency fund, and is receiving $200 million from the federal government. That money is all being directed to health-care resources, Ford said, and a provincial support package for businesses is in the works.

The money will be used to open 75 more critical care beds in hospitals, as well as 500 post-acute care beds and to help hospitals set up 25 more COVID-19 assessment centres.

Ontario is also purchasing more personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and surgical gowns for front-line health workers, as well as more ventilators.

There will also be more money for long-term care homes for additional staffing and infection control measures, and a fund is being set up to provide respite care and child-care services for front-line workers in COVID-19 assessment centres.

Scrapping time-of-use electricity pricing is being looked at, Ford said, as people are now largely at home during the hours with peak rates.

Ontario has reported a total of 177 cases of COVID-19, though that number is set to be updated later Tuesday morning.

Borders, cases, bans: What you need to know about Canada and B.C.’s COVID-19 response

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fernie Women’s Resource Centre continues to meet community needs

The centre will continue to offer their vital community services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Elkford shuts down emergency department

Elkford residents requiring emergency care are now to visit Fernie and Sparwood’s health centres

Sparwood welcomes new director of planning and development

Schaun Goodeve will be joining the District of Sparwood in his new position

District confirms case of COVID-19 in Elkford

Post to District’s Facebook page Monday informed residents of COVID-19 reported in community

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Both the prime minister and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have promised to donate their salary increase

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

COVID-19 case confirmed at restaurant in Cache Creek: Interior Health

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Most Read