Premier Ford Expected To Announce Province Wide Shutdown Today

At a shopping mall in Toronto Ontario people wear masks as they shop on March 17

At a shopping mall in Toronto Ontario people wear masks as they shop on March 17

Premier Doug Ford's Conservative cabinet met with the province's top doctor last night to discuss tightening restrictions.

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not allowed except for members of the same household.

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario is being driven by variants of concern and younger people are being hospitalized.

An Ontario-wide "shutdown" will be put in place to combat an "alarming" surge in COVID-19 infections, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday as intensive care admissions related to the virus surpassed those of the second wave of the pandemic.

Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness, including gyms.

"We need to close the gap between where we are today and where we will be with the millions of vaccines we're expecting by June", Ford said.

Stephen Lecce, who says "students deserve to be in class", calls the move critical for the mental health of students.

For the next four weeks, businesses and services will be impacted as part of the Ontario government's effort to prevent COVID-19 spread but it is not a stay-at-home order, like what happened at the end of 2020.

Weddings, funerals and other religious services will be capped at 15 per cent of regular indoor capacity.

Ontario may be moving into another provincial shutdown this weekend.

"We need to take action now", says Ford, noting the situation is not unique to Ontario, as provinces across the country as well as some states are facing similar challenges".

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The Central Emergency Operation Center gave a slightly lower suspected death toll of 26 people showing "no signs of life". During the festival, people return to ancestral villages to tidy up the graves of their relatives and make offerings.

While a stay-at-home order is not in effect during the shutdown, the province is asking all Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household.

The change, coming just two weeks after opening the province to outdoor dining, is "devastating" for members of his organization, said Todd Barclay, CEO of Restaurants Canada.

Three schools in Woodstock have been temporarily closed recently amid COVID-19 outbreaks, the latest one this week by the Thames Valley board, Southwestern Ontario's largest school system.

Personal care services are prohibited.

More than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to the government on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures.

"They're all dealing with the effects of a third wave and a unsafe new variant", Ford says, adding the decision for the shutdown was "not made lightly".

Essential workers still make up the highest number of people who are being infected with COVID-19.

"While some good employers out there are already doing this, most are not and won't unless [the] government forces them to just do the right thing", said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President on Thursday. "We will get through this if we all work together".

Dr. Brown says short-term case projections will depend entirely on the public health measures implemented by the government and vaccination rates.

The seven-day average is up to 2,341 cases daily and 113 weekly per 100,000.

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