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Province declares provincial emergency, issues stay-at-home order to take effect Thursday

The Ontario government has declared a provincial emergency and issued a stay-at-home order restricting all non-essential travel outside the home, in effect across Ontario starting Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

Only trips such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work will be permitted.

Additionally, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does so. Outdoor gathering limits have also been capped at five people.

The order is in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, as well as modelling that projects case numbers that could quickly overwhelm the province’s health care system.

Provincial data also shows that mobility and contacts between people have not decreased with the current restrictions.

“Today’s announcement underscores just how serious the COVID-19 situation has become in this province,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk’s Medical Officer of Health. “It is absolutely imperative that we do as much as possible to preserve health care capacity in our region. Staying home means less opportunity to spread the virus in our community, reducing cases, avoiding hospitalizations, and ultimately, saving lives.”

The Province also issued the following information:

  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

“Stay at home and save lives. It’s as simple as that. Each trip outside the home, each visit with those we don’t live with represents another link in the chain of virus transmission that could ultimately result in the death of a member of our community,” said Dr. Nesathurai. “COVID-19 has resulted in the deaths of 36 residents of Haldimand and Norfolk. We must take action to stop the spread of the virus, or risk losing more members of our community.”

Full details about the province’s announcement can be found here.