Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers and restriction on gatherings

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Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers and restriction on gatherings



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The Ontario government has unveiled several new COVID-19 restrictions aimed at curbing record-breaking cases in the province, including increased police powers, provincial border checkpoints and restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Friday afternoon.

“The reality is that there are few options left.”

Ford has announced an extension of Ontario’s state of emergency and province-wide home stay order until at least May 20, in line with recommendations from doctors and scientists Earlier in the day.

Outdoor gatherings will be limited to household members only from 12:01 am on Saturday. Those who live alone can join one other household exclusively.

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With respect to the capacity of big box retailers, the cap will be 25%.

Ford also ordered the immediate closure of recreational facilities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, golf courses, basketball courts, and soccer and baseball fields.

As of 12:01 am on Monday, church services, weddings and funerals will be limited to 10 people indoors.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones told reporters checks will be in place at the Manitoba and Quebec borders starting at 12:01 am Monday. Visitors will not be allowed in and out of Ontario, except for essential purposes such as work, medical care and transporting goods.

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Ford also called on the federal government to “immediately tighten international borders.”

Labor, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton said the province would end non-essential construction work on projects such as shopping malls, hotels and office towers.

“However, there are still projects that are critical to our health, such as building our homes, hospitals, assessment centers and long-term care homes, and we need to make sure that those at those sites are safe, ”McNaughton said.

As of Friday, McNaughton said 200 inspectors will visit more than 1,300 construction sites over the four weeks to ensure public health measures are in place.

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Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers and restriction on gatherings

He added that law firms, accounting offices and other places where employees could potentially work from home will also be inspected.

Meanwhile, during the press conference, Ford has repeatedly blamed the lack of vaccine supply for the situation the province finds itself in and said officials would increase supply in hot spots by 25%. . However, Ford did not specify how this plan will play out.

“Would we be in this position if we received 300,000 vaccines in February like the rest of the world?” The answer is absolutely no. We would not be facing the crisis with the ICUs, we would not have closed, we would not close the schools, ”he said.

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“We need the vaccines … The federal government has to get us the vaccines, at the end of the day.”

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The new restrictions came as the provincial government unveiled new projection data on Friday indicating that the only way to iron out the spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is with a stay-at-home order of at least six weeks. 100,000 doses of vaccine administered per day. .

According to the documents, there has been a 67% increase in virus-related hospitalizations and a 51% increase in the occupancy rate of intensive care units.

Officials also noted that in each scenario, more vaccinations mean a faster resolution to the long-term COVID-19 crisis.

It’s a developing story that will be updated throughout the day.

– With files from Gabby Rodrigues and the Canadian Press

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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