In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario is again extending the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, as well as implementing several new orders. The extension continues the declaration of a provincial emergency originally declared on March 17 and initially extended on March 30.
The Ontario Government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until April 23, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.
In addition, new measures have been introduced to address surge capacity in retirement homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures.
“I understand the actions we are taking are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across the province, but these are extraordinary times and we need to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We all must continue to do our part by staying home and practicing physical distancing. With the proper precautions and additional measures we’re taking today, I am confident we will get through this together and stronger.”
Ontario introduced several new measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The government says it is making it easier to repurpose existing buildings and put up temporary structures, like tents, so communities can meet their local needs quickly. Ford says this will reduce pressure on health care facilities and help shelters provide more space for sleeping to maintain the physical distancing requirements to reduce the spread of the virus.
In addition, Ontario is temporarily enabling hospitals to increase their capacity by using the beds and services of retirement homes.
And, the Province is also prohibiting recreational camping on Crown land. Under the emergency order, no individual can camp on Crown land, including the placement of tents or other camping structures, while the order is in effect. The government says it will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate if further actions are required.
The Province also says it is supporting construction workers and businesses with emergency action to help improve cash flow in the construction industry during the COVID-19 outbreak by lifting the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act, as well as allowing the release of holdback payments to contractors and subcontractors.
The following emergency orders have been extended until April 23, 2020:
- Closure of public places and establishments with exemption for emergency child care for health care and frontline essential service workers
- Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
- Work deployment for health service providers
- Drinking water and sewage
- Electronic service of documents
- Work deployment for long-term care homes
- Electricity pricing
- Closure of non-essential workplaces
- Traffic management
- Streamlining requirements for long-term care homes
- Prohibiting unfair pricing for necessary goods
- Enforcement of orders
- Work deployment for boards of health
- Work deployment measures in retirement homes
- Access to COVID-19 status information by specified persons
- Service agencies providing services and supports to adults with developmental disabilities
- Pick up and deli very of cannabis
- Signatures in wills and powers of attorney
- Use of force and firearms in policing services
- Closure of outdoor recreational amenities