How the Ontario lockdown will affect northern Ontario
SUDBURY -- Update:
The Ontario government declared a second state of emergency on Jan. 12 and province-wide stay-at-home orders went into effect on Jan. 14. Read more about that here.
Starting Boxing Day, communities in northern Ontario will be under a province-wide lockdown for 14 days. Southern Ontario is subject to a 28-day lockdown.
Northern Ontario includes the districts of Nipissing, Parry Sound, Manitoulin, Timiskaming, Sudbury, Algoma, Cochrane, Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora.
Premier Doug Ford announced the details of the lockdown on Monday after new modelling data was released, forecasting a rise in COVID-19 cases and intensive care hospitalizations across the province by the end of the year.
News broke Sunday night that the lockdown would begin on Christmas Eve, but the start date was pushed back two days following a cabinet meeting Monday morning.
Despite recent spikes in new cases of COVID-19, four of the five health units in northeastern Ontario are in the green-protect category of the province's response framework. Only the Timiskaming Health Unit is currently in the yellow-protect zone.
The number of active cases of COVID-19 in the northeast totals 49 as of Monday morning.
No COVID-related hospitalizations are currently being reported in by any of the five health units in northeastern Ontario.
"This province-wide shut down is a temporary, one-time measure in response to the circumstances we're facing," Ford said Monday.
During Monday's announcement, Ford said interprovincial travel is also of concern and by Ontario shutting down, it will hopefully stop people from Quebec, which is also shutting down, from coming into the province.
"The risk of interprovincial travel and further spread is a real concern," Ford said.
"We also know Quebec is shutting down. So areas like Ottawa … will be at tremendous risk over the holidays of people flooding in across the border if they stay open and we’ve seen it before in Ottawa from the Quebecers, and we love Quebecers, but they’ll be flowing into Ottawa."
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams told reporters that just because some regions have low rates of infection, does not mean they have high levels of immunity.
"Our preventative measures are as important as our active measures," Dr. Williams said.
Ford said the province would review the status of regions in green and yellow zones after two weeks.
Several shoppers in both Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury told CTV News stores in both cities were really busy.
Multiple shoppers in Sudbury told CTV News the lineups for the checkout counters at both the Real Canadian Superstore and Costco have reached the backs of the stores on Monday.
"From what I've seen, the shelves aren't empty, yet," said one shopper who was at the Superstore Monday afternoon.
The week leading up to Christmas is usually busy for retail stores, as many rush to finish holiday shopping, but those people will now have to contend with those stocking up for at least two weeks at home.
Northern Ontario's lockdown will last until Jan. 9, while southern Ontario's will continue until Jan. 23.
Specific measures in effect Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m include:
- Only gathering indoors with the people you live with. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
- No indoor organized public events are allowed.
- Outdoor organized events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people and physical distancing must be maintained.
- No in-person shopping in most retail settings. Essential retail outlets will remain open and must follow capacity limits (25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping in big-box stores and 50 per cent capacity for supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies).
- No indoor access to shopping malls unless in a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only) or to go to an essential retail outlet.
- No indoor and outdoor dining. Take out, drive-through, and delivery may continue.
- Indoor and outdoor recreational fitness facilities will close. Outdoor recreational amenities will remain open for individual use with public health measures in place.
- Post-secondary institutions are open for virtual instruction, with limited exceptions (for example clinical training and trades).
- Students will participate in virtual school from Jan. 4-8. In-person attendance will resume Jan. 11 These changes do not apply to First Nation schools.
- Child care centres will remain open during the shutdown. During the period of virtual learning (Jan. 4-8), school-aged children cannot attend to limit exposures. The Ministry of Education will implement a targeted emergency child care program for school-aged children.
Further details can be found here.
Lockdown begins: 12:01 a.m. Dec. 26
Lockdown ends: 12:01 a.m. Jan. 9, 2021