UPDATED: Ontario amends new Stay-at-Home Order: Parks and playground-use allowed, Policing orders changed
The Ontario government has made changes to its just-announced enhancements to the province-wide stay-at-home order.
The province says the urgent actions are targeted at stopping the rapid growth in COVID-19 case rates and relieving mounting pressures on the province’s health care system.
The province reversed course on sweeping new police powers this weekend, just a day after Premier Doug Ford announced the measures that triggered a swift and furious backlash. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says officers will no longer have the right to stop any pedestrian or vehicle to ask why they are out or request their home address. Instead, she says, police will only be able to stop people who they have reason to believe are participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.”
Originally parks and playgrounds were going to be closed, but Premier Ford Tweeted on Saturday: “Ontario’s enhanced restrictions were always intended to stop large gatherings where spread can happen. Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds but gatherings outside will still be enforced. Play outside safely. Parents keep your distance & wear masks if you can’t.”
Ontario’s enhanced restrictions were always intended to stop large gatherings where spread can happen.
Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds but gatherings outside will still be enforced. Play outside safely. Parents keep your distance & wear masks if you can’t.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 17, 2021
Both the provincial declaration of emergency and the Stay-at-Home order have been extended for an additional two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Stay-at-Home order currently in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
In order to limit the transmission of the variants of concern, the government is also restricting travel into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec with the exception of purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights.
The government has also implemented the following public health and workplace safety measures effective Saturday, April 17:
- Prohibit all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household;
- Close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector;
- Reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies.
In addition, effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Prohibiting social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.
All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake (i.e., curbside pick-up and delivery only), will continue to apply.