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

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

Scholarship up for grabs for Rossland art students

The $250 scholarship is being provided by the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture

COVID-19 adds worry and unexpected costs to Castlegar woman’s cancer fight

Community fundraiser raises $9,000 for Jennifer Rodrigues’ family

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read