Ford declares emergency; restaurants and others forced to close

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By Nick Seebruch
Ford declares emergency; restaurants and others forced to close
Doug Ford answering a reporter's question during a campaign stop at the Ramada Inn. Nick Seebruch photo.

ONTARIO – On Tuesday, March 17 Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared an emergency in the province of Ontario, leading to the closure of several businesses and facilities immediately.

“We are facing an unprecedented time in our history,” said Premier Ford. “This is a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions. We are taking this extraordinary measure because we must offer our full support and every power possible to help our health care sector fight the spread of COVID-19. The health and well-being of every Ontarian must be our number one priority.”

The following businesses and facilities are legally required to close immediately:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

All public gatherings exceeding 50 people are also prohibited until the end of March.

“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 know these measures will affect people’s every day lives, but they are necessary to ensure that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our people. We’re working with all partners across the system, from public health to hospitals and community care, to do everything we can to contain this virus and ensure that the system is prepared to respond to any scenario.”

The province is also spending $304 million to boost their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including $100 million for more hospital beds, $50 million for more testing, $50 million to protect frontline workers, $50 million for long term care facilities, and more.

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