While some retail stores and seasonal businesses have been allowed to re-open today with strict social distancing guidelines, the province of Ontario is once again extending their emergency orders.
The emergency orders will remain in place until May 29, 2020 at the earliest, but they can be extended by an additional 14 days at any time by Ontario officials.
These emergency orders include the closure of of restaurants except for takeout and delivery, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, the mandatory order to identify yourself to police, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care and retirement homes.
"Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it's critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner," said Premier Ford.
"The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household."
The government has approved an exemption related to gatherings to allow drive-in religious gatherings under certain conditions. These include keeping vehicles two metres apart, only members of one household per vehicle, you can’t exit the vehicle and more.
Outdoor playgrounds, fitness equipment, public pools and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of Ontario’s re-opening plan.
"It's never been more important for people to continue following the public health measures and advice we've laid out, so we don't undo the tremendous progress we've made to contain COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
"While reopening parks and other outdoor spaces is important for our physical and mental health, we're encouraging people to be responsible by keeping a safe distance of at least two metres from members outside of their household."
The emergency orders also include the OPP’s fines under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will remain in place as long as Ontario’s State of Emergency is in effect. These include:
- A Failure to Comply with An Order – Part I Fine - $750, (failure to follow emergency orders and social distancing guidelines)
- Obstructions of Person Fine - $1,000, (obstructing another person from following emergency orders, or obstructing officials from their duties under the emergency act)
- Corporations Fine - $500,000. (A company or business voluntarily defying emergency orders)
The OPP says although voluntary compliance is preferred, under the EMCPA, there are consequences for individuals and businesses that choose to defy the Act while it is in force.
For more information:
Ontarians encouraged to stay the course