Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 and Save Lives

TORONTO — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Province-wide Shutdown.

Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

Keep Each Other Safe. Inspired by life in South East Asia and how we can all help each other be a little safer. Image created by Asa Gilland. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Context: provincewide shutdown

  • Based on the latest modelling data, cases are expected to continue to grow, with multiple models predicting rates of at least 1,500 cases per day for several weeks under current restrictions. Daily mortality is also increasing
  • There has been a significant reduction in people staying home, especially when compared to the Spring. Patterns also continue to show trends of people moving across public health unit regions
    1. Escalating case counts have led to increased hospitalization rates and capacity challenges in many large urban hospitals, which has resulted in new disruptions to scheduled surgeries and procedures
    2. Hospitalizations have increased by 74% over the past four weeks (leading up to Dec. 21) and the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU is above the 150-person threshold
  • Some hospitals have been directed to defer in-person care that is not time-sensitive to ensure surge capacity
  • Public health and other experts have expressed significant concerns that the current transmission trends, combined with the potentially high levels of mobility from social and consumer activity over the holiday period, could overwhelm health care and public health sector capacity in the new year
  • A province-wide shutdown will help interrupt or slow current community transmission, reduce mobility and allow our health care and public health systems that are reaching critical limits and to recover briefly and catch-up

When does the provincewide shutdown start?

The restrictions start at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

Where, and how long, are the provincewide shutdown restrictions in effect?

The restrictions are in effect for all of Ontario from Saturday, December 26, 2020 to Saturday, January 9, 2021.

The restrictions would remain in effect from Saturday, January 9, 2021 to Saturday, January 23, 2021 for all 27 public health unit regions in Southern Ontario 

Organized public events and social gatherings (including religious services, rites or ceremonies), schools, child care, post-secondary institutions and day camps

Events and gatherings

No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.

Limit for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings, must comply with public health advice on physical distancing:

  • 10 people outdoors

Weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies

Weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained:

  • 10 people indoors
  • 10 people outdoors

Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions.

Virtual services permitted.

 A province-wide shutdown is in effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Learn about the restrictions and public health measures that are in place.

  • Tess de Jesus, Far West Herald