- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. "I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus," said Premier Ford. "Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings." This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities. Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren't otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed. "We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province" said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians' health and wellbeing." "The health and well-being of Ontarians is a top priority of our government as we navigate through the COVID-19 health crisis. I know our municipal partners are already taking action locally to protect their residents," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "This order makes the rules around closing shared outdoor recreational amenities consistent across the province." To ensure the province is able to continue its extensive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will also extend the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency and subsequent emergency orders, regulations and amendments issued under s.7.0.1 and 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The following declaration and orders have been extended and will be in effect until April 13, 2020:
Closure of public places and establishments with exemption for emergency child care for health care and frontline essential service workers
Ontarians should stay home except for essential reasons, and to limit the number of these essential trips. Essential reasons include accessing health care services and medication, grocery shopping, walking pets when required and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the above needs. It is strongly recommended that people over 70 years old or who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate and get help with essential errands.
Ontarians must strictly practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people and keep at least two metres away from people outside of their household.
On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They must not go to work, grocery stores or on walks. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and contact their primary care providers or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) if they experience symptoms.
Take everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health : wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).