What the COVID-19 state of emergency means for Ontarians
TORONTO -- The Ontario government has declared a state of emergency as the province tries to slow the spread of COVID-19, but what does that mean for you?
CTV News Toronto has compiled a list of everything you need to know about what it means to live in a state of emergency.
What does it mean to declare an emergency?
The order is normally issued in response to a dangerous situation of “major proportions,” which could result in serious harm to a person or substantial damage to property. It means that Ontario can use every power possible, not contrary to the law, in order to protect the property, health, safety and welfare of residents.
What can it do?
By declaring an emergency, the government can enforce emergency orders, such as regulating or prohibiting travel, establishing emergency shelters and hospitals, or closing any place whether public or private. It also means the government can fix prices for necessary goods, services and resources and prohibit charging excessive prices.
What does it mean for us now?
The province has asked for the immediate closure of all indoor recreational programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed child care centres, all bars and restaurants (except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery), all theatres and cinemas and all concert venues. All organized events with more than 50 people are also prohibited, including parades, events and services within places of worship.
What’s not closed for now?
Manufacturing facilities, grocery stores, malls (but with reduced hours) and office buildings will remain open. Ford said that it’s critical the supply chain keeps going. Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that at this time a full lockdown is not needed.
What will happen with workers?
Ford told reporters that workers will be supported. He said that he is expecting the federal government to support a loan program for people financially impacted by the virus. He also demanded immediate employment insurance reforms in response to COVID-19.
How long will it last for?
The premier can decide to terminate or extend an emergency, and the orders made. The current orders made are expected to remain in place until March 31, and will then be reassessed unless the state of emergency is cancelled beforehand.
Where else has this happened?
Red Deer and Calgary in Alberta have declared states of emergency, as has the United States. As the virus continues to spread, more regions are expected to also make the declaration.
When has this happened before?
The premier’s office said that this is the third time in Ontario’s history where an emergency has been declared. The last time the order was issued was in 2003 during the SARS outbreak and during the Northeast blackout that same year.