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Ontario Declares Third Provincial State of Emergency

Published on
April 7, 2021

This afternoon, in consultation with Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government announced it is enacting a third declaration of provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) and a province-wide Stay-At-Home Order effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. for at least four weeks.

The Stay-At-Home Order requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes. Examples of essential purposes include going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, outdoor exercise and work that cannot be done remotely. The intent of the Stay-At-Home order is to reduce mobility across the province, slow the spread of the virus, preserve capacity in the health-care system and buy time to get more Ontarians vaccinated as Ontario grapples with the COVID variants of concern. According to the Premier, by the end of the 28-day Stay-At-Home Order, 40% of Ontario adults will be vaccinated, based on expected vaccine deliveries from the federal government.

The measures enacted today are on top of the shutdown (emergency brake) measures put in place on April 3. In addition, the shutdown measures have also been strengthened, effective April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. to limit non-essential retail. There continues to be no limits on the construction sector.

New measures include:

- Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm;

- Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall;

- Restricting discount and big box stores’ in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;

- Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:

  • Safety supply stores;
  • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
  • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
  • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
  • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
  • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.

- Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The full list of public health and workplace safety measures can be found in the regulations.

The Province also announced changes to the vaccine distribution plan:

  • Education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province will be given access starting next week.
  • Education workers who live or work in priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel will also start to have access to vaccines starting next week. Vaccination with then move to priority hot spot neighbourhoods in York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham. Once supply allows, vaccination will roll-out to all education workers across the province.
  • Phase Two of the vaccination plan has prioritized vaccination of adults 50 and older in hot spot regions.
  • Mobile teams and pop-up clinics will also be used to support expanded vaccination efforts in hot spot neighborhoods for individuals 18 and over, targeting high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations and locations occupied by large employers.

The Province continues to remind residents to follow the public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Happy to help.

The Sussex team will continue to track the progress and intersection of all of these initiatives closely. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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