The Ontario government has unveiled new public health restrictions as the province faces record-breaking COVID-19 case counts and intensive care admissions.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement during a news conference on Friday, saying the province would place restrictions on interprovincial travel, limit outdoor gatherings and allow police to stop vehicles to inquire about an individuals reason for leaving their residence.
Starting Monday, the province is setting up checkpoints at all interprovincial borders. Ontario will limit access to border crossings between Ontario and Manitoba and Quebec.
Travellers who are coming into Ontario for work, medical care, transportation of goods and exercising indigenous treaty rights will be exempted.
The stay-at-home order, which went into effect on April 8 and was expected to last for 28 days, will now be extended for an additional two weeks. It will now be a six-week long order that will last until May 20 at least.
Residents must remain at home at all times, with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.
Businesses across the province must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
Outdoor gatherings limited
Starting Saturday, all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events will be prohibited, except for members of the same household. A person who lived alone could join one other household.
All outdoor recreational amenities such as golf courses, basketball courts and playgrounds, will be closed.
Retail capacity slashed
Non-essential stores must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m., including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery.
Capacity limits for in-person shopping in all retail settings where in person shopping is permitted, including supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores and stores that primarily sell food and pharmaceutical products, will be limited to 25 per cent capacity.
Places of worship
Starting Monday, capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services will be limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors.
Drive-in services will be permitted.
The government says non-essential construction will close, including construction at shopping malls, hotels, and office towers.
New Enforcement Measures
For the first time in Ontario since the pandemic started, police officers will have the authority to require people to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence.
Police will have the ability to stop vehicles to inquire about and reason for people leaving their homes.