Friday, 16 April, 2021

Premier Ford expected to announce Province wide shutdown today

Premier Doug Ford in June 2020 Premier Doug Ford in June 2020
Cecil Davis | 03 April, 2021, 06:22

Under guidelines recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and adopted by the province, second doses are being delayed by up to four months for most populations in order to maximize the number of people benefiting from a first dose amid a vaccine shortage.

Ontario is pulling its emergency brake and putting the province into at least a 4-week long shutdown beginning Saturday.

"We are facing a very serious situation", Premier Doug Ford said during a media briefing on Thursday. "That means we need to take action now".

"I'm asking everyone to only gather with your immediate households because, my friends, I want us to have a good summer and these steps the next four weeks are our best chance to save lives and to make sure this summer we can get things open and get back to our lives".

Ford stressed that people should remain within their households for Easter, and also mentioned worship services would still be allowed at 15 per cent capacity.

"If you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household", the province says.

Non-essential retail stores are permitted to open but with occupancy capped at 25 per cent of maximum, while essential retail outlets such as grocery stores are limited to 50 per cent occupancy.

Quebec announced Wednesday that three of its cities would enter a new 10-day lockdown phase that would close schools and non-essential businesses, while B.C. began a circuit breaker this week that cancelled indoor exercise classes and closed restaurants, pubs and bars to indoor dining.

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Outdoor recreational amenities, such as baseball diamonds, batting cages, tennis courts, basketball courts, horse riding facilities, golf courses and driving ranges and more are permitted to open with conditions.

There will be prohibitions on indoor and outdoor dining, personal care services and sports and recreation services, and restrictions will be introduced for retail settings, and for wedding and funeral services and religious services. With more than $1.6 billion invested to protect against COVID-19, schools remain safe for students and staff. "Even if we had unlimited ICU capacity, allowing these (variants of concern) to spread exponentially is unethical".

I know that, over a year into this pandemic, news of a shutdown is frustrating to hear. We are now fighting a new enemy.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces the province-wide "emergency brake" on Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021. Younger people are ending up in the hospital. As the Premier noted today however, with the increasing risk of death, hospitalization and ICU admissions resulting from rapid spread of the variants of concern, the cost of inaction is simply too high.

Brown said vaccines aren't reaching communities at highest risk, limiting the effectiveness of the province's strategy.

Ontario reported 2,557 new COVID cases Thursday.

At LHSC there are now five or fewer patients in the ICU. Ford notes that 70 additional beds will be made available at the Toronto Congress Centre to provide some relief at hospitals and free up beds for COVID patients.

The number of people in intensive care was 121, up two from the day before.