Ontario issues stay-at-home order, extends school closure

Canada’s most populous province is extending COVID-19 restrictions in a new stay-at-home order.


Canada’s most populous province is extending COVID-19 restrictions in a new stay-at-home order.

The order does allow for people to leave their homes to visit the grocery store or pharmacy or access health care services as well as for exercise or essential work.

Police will be able to issue tickets for violations.

The measure also has several changes for businesses and schools, where numerous units won't return to in-person teaching until Feb. 10. All high schools in Ontario had be closed for in-person learning until Jan. 25.

"The latest modelling data shows that Ontario is in a crisis and, with the current trends, our hospital ICUs will be overwhelmed in a few short weeks with unthinkable consequences," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. "We need people to only go out only for essential trips to pick up groceries or go to medical appointments. By doing the right thing and staying home, you can stay safe and save lives."

In December, Ontario announced a province-wide shutdown because of a second wave of COVID-19.

The lockdown was put in place for southern Ontario from Dec. 26 until Jan. 23 with the intention to lift it for northern Ontario on Jan. 9. Health officials criticized the delay, with one top infectious disease doctor saying it was ridiculous to wait until the day after Christmas to shut down.

Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, said that the province of 14.5 million people could see more than 20,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections a day by the middle of next month unless it curbs the infection rate.

Ontario reported 2,903 new confirmed infections on Tuesday, including eight new cases of a variant from the United Kingdom that is feared to be more contagious than the original strain.

Video: UK variant strain of COVID-19 confirmed in Maryland, governor says

The new order begins Thursday.