By Chad Ingram
As of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, Ontarians will be required to stay home except for what the Ford government is calling “essential purposes,” including going to grocery stores, pharmacies, medical appointments, and for exercise or “essential” work, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
An announcement on Jan. 12 was scant on specific details of what constitutes “essential,” and how enforcement would work.
According to a press release from the province, outdoor gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of five people who are not part of the same household. There are to be no indoor organized public events or gatherings, except with members of the same household.
“All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.,” the release reads. “The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.”
The release also says that “non-essential construction is further restricted.”
In a press conference on Jan. 12, Premier Doug Ford and members of his cabinet said the declaration of a second state of emergency in the province will give police officers and bylaw officers enhanced powers of enforcement, including the ability to break up gatherings of more than five people. Ford asked that all employers who could have employees work from home do so.