TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province’s hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.
- In a news conference at Queen’s Park, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott provide an update on their government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. They are joined by Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, and Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s solicitor general. The premier declares a state of emergency and announces a stay-at-home order for a four-week period, starting April 8. The majority of non-essential businesses will be limited to curbside pick-up and delivery, while big box stores will only be allowed to sell essential items. This announcement comes five days after Ford announced a partial province-wide shutdown which allowed non-essential retail businesses to remain open with reduced capacity. Ford also announces expanded vaccine eligibility for special education teachers across the province and for all education workers and teachers in Toronto and Peel Region’s hot spots. Vaccination will then roll out for these workers in priority neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions. The province is also deploying mobile vaccine clinics in shelters, residential buildings, community centres, as well as churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other faith-based locations in the highest-risk neighbourhoods. There will also be mobile clinics for individuals aged 18 or over employed in large workplaces that will remain open in hot spot neighbourhoods.