The province of Ontario has extended the COVID-19 lockdown for Northern Ontario for another 14-days.

The earliest the lockdown can be lifted is January 23. The decision will be evaluated after 14 days to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.

hile extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario is not the news many wanted to hear, we must work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, protect hospital capacity, and save lives."

In the nearly two weeks since Ontario was moved into a Provincewide Shutdown, trends in key public health indicators have continued to worsen in both Northern and Southern Ontario, including concerning trends in health system capacity, most notably in hospitals. Trends show increasing transmission in many Northern Ontario public health regions, including the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area where 32 cases of COVID-19 have been identified since the lockdown began on December 26.

Premier Ford is asking all residents to continue to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, and essential retailers will continue to remain open with 50 per cent capacity limits. Non-essential retailers will remain open with curbside pickup and delivery only.

Indoor public events and social gatherings will continue to be restricted, except with members of the same household. Those who live alone can have exclusive contact with one other household.

Restaurants and bars will only be able to operate by take-out, drive-through or delivery only. Non-essential surgeries have been postponed.

All employers are asked to make every effort to allow employees to work from home during this time. A new grant has also been made available for businesses with less than 100 employees who are affected by these measures.