All non-essential businesses in Ontario ordered to close by March 25

TORONTO – The Ontario government has announced that all “non-essential” businesses in the province must close by March 25.

The closures, announced on March 23, will take effect at 11:59 on March 24 and last for at least two weeks.

A full list of businesses allowed to stay open, released later in the day on March 23, is available by clicking here.

“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” said Premier Doug Ford on March 23.

“But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.”

The government has stated that businesses that can continue with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, have about 36 hours “to prepare and adapt.”

Essential services can continue to operate in order to “ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products,” the government press release stated.

Officials say a 1-800 number and website will be available on March 24 for inquiries.

“Based on the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at our Command Table, Ontario is taking further action to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and health minister.

“These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important.”

For the latest health information regarding COVID-19, visit the public health website.

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