TORONTO – The Ontario government has extended the current state of emergency for an additional two weeks.
The emergency, the second declared by the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, was declared on Jan. 12 (effective two days later) and was to expire on Jan. 28.
On Jan. 25 the province extended the declaration until Feb. 9.
The announcement was buried at the end of a press release about adjustments to the province’s vaccination plan.
Other restrictions announced by Premier Doug Ford on Jan. 12 remain in effect until at least Feb. 11. Those include:
- a stay-at-home order (exceptions are purchasing groceries or medication, accessing health care services, exercise and essential work);
- all businesses required to ensure employees work from home when possible;
- all outdoor gatherings are restricted to a limit of five people (down from 10) with limited exceptions;
- wearing a mask/face covering is required indoors at businesses/organizations and is recommended outdoors when distancing is not possible;
- all non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7am and close by 8pm (this does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurant takeout/delivery); and
- non-essential construction is further restricted (no new projects can be started).
There is still no word from the province on possible return-to-school dates, despite officials stating they would announce health unit-specific openings by Jan. 20.
Public health has extended virtual learning until Feb. 1, but school boards in Wellington County have stated the return to class will be delayed by the province at least until Feb. 11.
For more information on the new COVID-19 restrictions, visit the province’s website.