Ontario declares state of emergency over coronavirus outbreak
During a March 17 public announcement, Premier Ford emphasized that the emergency declaration is not a provincial shut down, and that the majority of businesses will not be affected by the order.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency as the province tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 – although the announcement will not cause the closure of any businesses.
“This is a decision that was not made lightly,” Ford said during a March 17 announcement alongside Health Minister Christine Elliott, Finance Minister Rod Phillips, and Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions,” he added.
Ford emphasized that the emergency declaration is not a provincial shut down, and that the majority of businesses won’t be affected by the order. “The vast majority of businesses, including those most vital to day-to-day life, will not be affected by this order,” he said. “Essential services and needs will be available.”
Effective immediately, the province has ordered the closure of all facilities providing indoor recreation programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed childcare centres, all theatres, cinemas and concert venues, and all bars and restaurants except to provide takeout food and delivery.
In an accompanying news release, the Ontario government said that the order will remain in place until March 31, at which point it will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless it’s terminated before that.
As of March 17, eight new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ontario, bringing the total to 185.