Ontario extends stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced that the provincewide stay-at-home-order will be extended for an additional two weeks, saying the move will help deliver the "most normal July and August possible."
“Make no mistake, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Ford said during a news conference Thursday.
“As much as we’re seeing a decline, which is good, everyone is moving forward, we’re getting the vaccines in to people’s arms, but we just can’t risk it. Just hang in there, we aren't asking a lot, just a couple more weeks," he said.
The order will now expire on June 2, a full month longer than what was announced in April when the measure was introduced.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that while the province’s daily COVID-19 case counts are “coming down,” Ontario has a “ways to go.”
“Our ICU numbers have backed off, that’s encouraging. But if you look at our numbers now, we’re about where we were at the peak of the second wave,” Williams said.
The province logged another 2,759 infections Thursday, the fourth day in which case numbers have remained below the 3,000 mark.
Williams said earlier this week that the province would need to see daily COVID-19 case counts below the 1,000 mark before significantly loosening restrictions.
Under the stay-at-home order, all non-essential businesses must remain closed and residents are required to remain indoors, unless leaving their residence for an essential purpose.
Moreover, and contrary to the advice of many public health experts, outdoor recreational amenities also remain closed.
In a tweet published shortly after the announcement, infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who sits on the province’s COVID-19 vaccination task force, expressed frustration with the decision to keep those areas off limits.
“Still frustrated about limiting outdoor activities though. These are safe & should be encouraged,” he said.
When asked about keeping outdoor amentities like golf courses closed, Ford said the decision was made in an effort to limit mobility, while referencing what he had heard from “one of his buddies.”
“I know what happens: You know, they pick up another buddy, two or three, they go out golfing and there’s nothing wrong with golfing the problem is the mobility.”
In addition to the stay-at-home order, Williams said that the rate of vaccinations performed across Ontario will need to remain high to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus.
As of Thursday, 6.6 million residents have received at least one dose and 407,600 have received both their first and second and are considered fully vaccinated.
The province has previously said that it hopes to have at least 65 per cent of adults in Ontario with one shot by the end of May.
Ford bookended his news conference by once again calling on the federal government to introduce enhanced restrictions at the border.
He’s asking Ottawa for a reduction in the number of incoming international flights to Canada through Ontario and mandatory COVID-19 tests for all domestic air travellers.
As well, he wants the feds to “address the loophole” at land border crossings by implementing a mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to CP24 earlier this morning and said Ottawa has stepped up to reduce international flights coming into the country and has been open to working with Ontario to enact further restrictions.
“I find it kind of frustrating and disappointing that the province is still trying to point fingers,” he told CP24.