TORONTO — Ontario has declared a state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order that will take effect Thursday in response to surging COVID-19 infections that threaten to overrun the health-care system.
Residents will be required to stay home, leaving only for essentials like work, food, health-care services, work or exercise, among other measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
The state of emergency, which will remain in effect for 28 days, gives police and bylaw officers authority to enforce the public health rules and issue tickets.
Here’s a look at what the new restrictions mean.
GATHERINGS AND SERVICES
Indoor social gatherings and events barred except among people in the same household.
Outdoor gatherings limited to five people, with “limited exceptions.”
Religious services, weddings, funerals and other ceremonies limited to 10 people with physical distancing and face coverings.
Employers should ensure all employees work remotely, unless their jobs can only be done on site.
The government says it will provide up to 300,000 rapid COVID-19 test per week to open workplaces, including long-term care homes, schools, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and food processing plants.
Masks recommended outside when physical distance of more than two metres can’t be maintained.
Businesses open for sales must require people to wear masks inside.
Retails stores deemed non-essential and those offering curbside pickup and delivery must limit hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants selling takeout are exempt from the limit on hours.
Retailers allowed to open for in-person shopping — including supermarkets, convenience stores, box stores that sell groceries and discount stores — must be able to maintain physical distance between people, and require face coverings.
Retailers limited to curbside pickup can only sell items a customer ordered before arriving.
SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES
Schools in Windsor, Toronto, Peel, York and Hamilton closed for in-person learning until Feb. 10. Before- and after-school programs can resume on that date.
Advice on the return date for in-class learning in other public health units will be announced Jan. 20; schools in northern health units that resumed in-class lessons this week remain open.
Students in Grades 1 through 3 must wear masks in school.
Masks required outdoors when physical distancing between students isn’t possible.
Further COVID-19 screening protocols may be introduced in schools and daycares as recommended by the province’s chief medical officer of health.
Child care for non-school-aged children remain open.
Construction deemed non-essential closed, including below-grade construction.
Land surveying and demolition services permitted.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Concert venues and theatres closed, including for drive-in or drive-thru events.
Some outdoor recreation spaces can open with conditions, including parks, baseball diamonds, batting cages, sports fields, skate parks, horse-racing facilities, trails, toboggan hills, ice rinks and shooting ranges.