Ontario-wide lockdown: Entire province to shut down on Dec. 26, students move to online learning
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The Ontario government has announced a nationwide shutdown that will begin at 12:01 p.m. on December 26, Boxing Day.
"This difficult move is clearly necessary to save lives and keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in the coming weeks," said Doug Ford, Ontario Prime Minister. "As Prime Minister, it falls to me to make the difficult but necessary decision, and I will never shrink from my duty to protect the people of Ontario."
"Unfortunately, despite the restrictions, we have seen an increasing number of people traveling between regions in Ontario. COVID is spreading rapidly from areas with high outbreaks to areas with fewer cases. Our hospitals fill up more every day."
The measures that will be part of these statewide restrictions include:
Individuals living alone may consider having exclusive close contact with another household when restricting organized public events and indoor social gatherings except with members of the same household
Prohibit in-person shopping in most retail environments - roadside pickup and delivery can continue
Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 percent capacity for in-store purchases, supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores primarily selling groceries, and pharmacies, and will continue to have 50 percent capacity Shopping in-store store
Restricting access to indoor shopping centers - Customers are only allowed to go to a specific indoor pickup area (by appointment only), major retail stores that are allowed to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or subject to physical distancing and face covering Food court for take-away purchases (malls can also set up designated outdoor pick-up areas)
Ban on eating indoors and outdoors - restaurants, bars and other dining facilities may only be operated for take-away, drive-through and delivery
Ford called this a "temporary" and "one-time action" that will last at least 14 days in northern Ontario and 28 days in southern Ontario.
The Prime Minister also had a specific message for regions currently in the green and yellow, less restrictive area of the COVID-19 response framework.
The five zones of public health action for COVID-19 in Ontario. Currently, most affected regions in the province, averaging over 2,000 cases per day, have doubled the number of cases for the "control" level, moving the province to "gray" or "lockdown".
"The risk of inter-provincial travel and spreading is a real problem," said Ford. "We have seen people move from region to region bringing COVID with them.
He also expressed concern about the movement across the provincial border from Quebec to Ottawa, in particular.
"We also know that Quebec is closing, so areas like Ottawa, which have done a great job, are at tremendous risk on vacations from people flocking across the border," said Ford. "We've done it before seen as we open up and Quebec closes. They will come by in droves. The numbers will go up again. "
When asked why these lockdown restrictions are being introduced on Boxing Day rather than Monday or any other day before Christmas, the prime minister said he wanted to give companies the opportunity to prepare to “squat” for the shutdown, including the Manage their existing inventory, especially for restaurants that are currently operational.
Schools are switching to online distance learning
All elementary and secondary schools will switch to teacher-guided distance learning on January 4, 2021.
"Schools are not part of the COVID problem in our communities, but as a precaution, school closings will be extended during the winter break," said Ford.
Schools in the following regions of the Public Health Unit can resume face-to-face classes on January 11, 2021:
The Algoma District Health Unit
North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
Northwestern Health Unit
Porcupine Health Unit
Sudbury and District Health Unit
Thunder Bay District Health Unit
Timiskaming Health Unit
Primary schools in other regions should be able to study in person again on January 11, 2021, but secondary school students will continue to study remotely until January 25, 2021.
Before this closure went into effect, the provincial government also announced the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to provide between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000 to eligible small business owners.
Suitable small businesses are companies that meet the following criteria:
Are required to close or significantly restrict services that are subject to nationwide shutdown effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 p.m.
Have fewer than 100 company-level employees
In April 2020, sales fell by at least 20 percent compared to April 2019
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