Ontario issues stay-at-home order, immediately declares second state of emergency
By Sean Davidson
TORONTO — The Ontario government has issued a stay-at-home order for the province beginning on Jan. 14 and has immediately declared a second state of emergency for the province.
Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday at Queen's Park that the new stay-at-home order will require everyone to remain at home, with the exception for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store, pharmacy, accessing health-care services, for exercise, or for essential work.
Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the government is providing all enforcement and provincial offence officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to those who do not comply with the stay-at-home order.
Ontarians caught violating the stay-at-homes orders could face a fine and persecution under the Reopening Ontario Act and the EMPCA. Penalties include up to a year in jail, according to the Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Schools in Toronto, York Region, Hamilton, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex will also not return to in-person learning until Feb. 10.
As part of the new rules, all non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.
The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people.
Non-essential construction is also further restricted, including below-grade construction.
"When we have stay-at-home order, that’s pretty serious," Ford said. "Last week I stood here and I told you our province is in crisis. The facts are clear: cases and deaths are the highest since the start of the pandemic and community spread continues to escalate."