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Ontario premier will ask to extend state of emergency until June 2
TORONTO -- Premier Doug Ford will ask the Ontario Legislature to extend the provincial state of emergency until June 2, as the government continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislature will resume for its fourth emergency session on Tuesday, allowing the MPPs to approve another extension of the state of emergency declaration, debate a new COVID-19-related emergency bill, and press the government on its response to the pandemic.
The current state of emergency was set to expire on Tuesday.
To keep up with physical distancing rules, only 42 MPPs -- 33 per cent of all elected members -- will be allowed to attend the one-day session, including 21 Progressive Conservatives, 14 NDP MPPs, three Liberals, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, two independent members and Speaker Ted Arnott.
The government says "extraordinary measures" to protect the health of MPPs and legislative staff will be in place, including screening protocols for anyone looking to enter Queen's Park, and anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 could be denied access by building security.
Ford will also be under intense scrutiny, during the first Question Period since early March, when the regular legislative sessions were halted freeing up the government to focus on its response to the pandemic. Members of the opposition are being given additional opportunities to grill the premier and ministers for a full hour.
The government said the legislature will also sit on May 19, 20, 26, 27, June 2 and 3 for Question Period and for COVID-19 related business.
Ontario takes biggest step to reopening
Retail stores with a street entrance were allowed to reopen and thousands of people returned to work Monday morning marking Ontario's most significant move to reopen the provincial economy.
This comes after garden centres, hardware stores and safety supply stores all reopened over the weekend after weeks of being closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Like retail stores, some residential construction projects have also been given the green light to open up while observing strict public health measures laid out by the Ontario government.
The Ontario government previously provided an incorrect date for the proposed state of emergency extension. The government has since revised the date until June 2.