Ontario is issuing an order requiring residents to stay at home starting Thursday, except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries, and further delaying in-person classes for students in some hot spots.
Premier Doug Ford says he is also declaring another state of emergency effective immediately in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates.
The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings. Wearing a mask is also now recommended outdoors when physical distancing is difficult.
Ford says he knows everyone “wants to return to normal,” but stressed the health-care system is “on the brink of collapse.”
“I know the actions we’ve announced today are difficult but they’re absolutely necessary,” Ford said in an afternoon news conference.