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

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

Rievaj family: alone together during COVID-19

Alone together is a Pioneer series about how local families are coping with COVID-19

Construction continues at Radium Hot Springs pools

Demolition done, slab for subfloor poured

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read