Ontario to lay out ‘legal parameters’ of stay at home order

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2021

he Ontario government is expected to provide more details Wednesday regarding its newly issued stay-at-home order, which takes effect Thursday.

The province says it will publish the “legal parameters” for the order online and offer more clarification on the measure.

As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, residents will have to stay home except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping, accessing health care and exercising.

The province says police and bylaw officers will have the power to enforce the stay-at-home order and issue tickets to rule-breakers, but hasn’t given details on how that will play out.

The order was announced Tuesday as the province declared a state of emergency — its second of the COVID-19 pandemic — and unveiled a series of new restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus.

They include prolonging the pause on in-person learning in schools in five southern Ontario hot spots — Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex — to Feb. 10.

Child-care centres for kids not yet in school will remain open, however.

The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers currently offering delivery and curbside pickup to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and imposed a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.

Wearing a mask is also now recommended outdoors when physical distancing is difficult.

The new restrictions were announced hours after the province released projections that show the virus is on track to overwhelm Ontario’s health-care system.

One of the experts behind the projections said that if the province’s COVID-19 positivity rate is at five per cent, there will be more than 20,000 new cases reported each day by the middle of next month.

If the rate climbs to seven per cent, that means the province will see 40,000 new daily cases.

The projections also indicate deaths from COVID-19 will surpass those in the pandemic’s first wave unless people dramatically reduce their contact with others.

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