In response to an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and intensive care admissions reaching a record high, premier Doug Ford announced that the Ontario government will implement a 28-day “emergency break” across the province, effective at 12:01am on April 3, 2021.
During the “emergency break”, some non-essential services will be required to close, including indoor and outdoor in-person dining (take-out, delivery and drive-thru options are permitted), personal care services, day camps, gyms, and facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreation (with limited exceptions). Barbershops, hair salons, and other personal care services in grey zone regions, which were expected to re-open on April 12, will no longer re-open as planned. Essential stores, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food, and pharmacies will remain open at 50% capacity, and non-essential retail stores, including malls and big box stores, may remain open and operate at 25% capacity.
During the “emergency break”, indoor organized public events and social gatherings with people outside a person’s household will be prohibited, and outdoor gatherings will be restricted to five people, except for gatherings with members of the same household or of members of one household with one other person who lives alone. Wedding, funerals and religious services and ceremonies will be capped at 15% occupancy per room indoors and restricted outdoors to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
Premier Doug Ford confirmed that, for now, schools will remain open, with officials closely monitoring the same for risk of transmission and determining on a day-to-day basis whether another school closure will be necessary.
Stay tuned as more information regarding the “emergency break” becomes available.