TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is strengthening enforcement of the province’s Stay-at-Home order while imposing new travel restrictions and further strengthening public health measures.
Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence.
In addition, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reasons for leaving their home. This additional enforcement tool will only be in effect during the Stay-at-Home order and exclusively to enforce the Stay-at-Home order.
However, on Saturday, April 17, Peel Police tweeted, “We will not conduct random stops of vehicles or people, to determine their reasons for being away from their homes.”
Both the provincial declaration of emergency and the Stay-at-Home order (O.Reg 265/21) have been extended for an additional two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Stay-at-Home order currently in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
The government also intends to implement the following public health and workplace safety measures effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.:
- Prohibit all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household;
- Close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector;
- Reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and,
- Close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds with limited exceptions.
Initially, the province said all outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment were not to be used, but in a tweet on Saturday afternoon, Ford said the government will roll back restrictions on playgrounds to allow their use.
In addition, effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.
All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake (i.e., curbside pick-up and delivery only), will continue to apply.
Based on the latest modelling data, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are continuing to increase rapidly and are now at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 29.2 per cent between the period of April 7 and 13, 2021.
In addition, between April 8 and 14, 2021, Ontario has seen the number of patients in intensive care due to COVID-related critical illness increase from 552 to 659, and admissions are projected to rise to over 1,000 patients by the end of the month. Over the past week, the positivity rate in the province is at 7.2 percent, well above the high-alert threshold of 2.5 percent.
Cover Photo: Colin Temple / Shutterstock.com
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