Ford Confirms Ontario Heading into Lockdown

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Ontario is heading into another province-wide lockdown to the curb the spread of COVID-19.

Premier Doug Ford confirmed the move via teleconference Thursday after officials hinted at another lockdown Wednesday night.

According to Ford, the province's third lockdown is an "emergency break" with the number of COVID-19 patients hitting critical levels in the healthcare system.

Ford announced the lockdown will get underway heading into the Easter Weekend on Saturday at 12:01 a.m. and will be in effect for at least four weeks.

The sixth white coloured tier or "shut down" tier in the provinces' COVID-19 response framework is similar to the grey zone.

It would allow retail to open with strict capacity limits, indoor dining is closed and gyms are shuttered.

While most outdoor amenities, including golf courses, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, will remain open, other sectors of the economy will be closed or restricted for the next month.

Personal care services and personal fitness businesses will be shut down, big box stores would be limited to 50 per cent capacity, while other retail would see a 25 per cent capacity limit. 

Shopping malls would remain open with 25 per cent limit for individual stores.

Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies will be limited to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. 

This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

Residents will not be able to gather with anyone outside of their household indoors and outside gatherings will be capped at five people, as long as physical distance can be maintained — those living alone will be allowed to interact with one chosen household.

Full restrictions under the COVID-19 response framework can be found on the province's website.