As COVID case counts rise, in particular variants of concern, the Ford government’s shutdown of the province for four weeks kicked in at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
Premier Doug Ford imposed the Shutdown – using a new category in the COVID-19 Response Framework.
This comes following modelling data released Thursday morning that shows the third wave is being fuelled by the B.1.1.7 variant, which is infecting and killing younger people at a faster rate than its base version.
Under this shutdown, no indoor organized public events or social gatherings permitted, and only five people allowed to gather in a group out of doors. All meeting and event spaces will be closed except for government services, including court services and mental health and addiction support. Day camps are required to close.
The shutdown imposes capacity limits at weddings, funerals and other religious services to 15 per cent of occupancy per room indoors.
The province says there will be no indoor or outdoor dining permitted at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments across Ontario. Take-out, drive-thru, and delivery services can continue and will include the delivery of alcohol if desired. Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and liquor can only be sold and served between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. under these restrictions.
Retail locations will be permitted a capacity of 25 per cent of the norm while stores that sell groceries will be capped at 50 per cent of capacity. This includes big box stores. Curbside pickup and delivery are permitted.
Personal care services like hairstylists, nail salons and tanning beds will be closed, as will casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
The province reported over 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday; the number of ICU beds in use exceeded 430, a pandemic high.