Ontario premier declares state of emergency

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Shady Salah – Media in Toronto

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a provincial state of emergency amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak that has already led to dramatics restrictions on public life.

“This morning I have declared a state of emergency in the province of Ontario,” Ford told a press conference this morning. “We are facing an unprecedented time in our history.”

The move takes effect immediately and lasts until March 31.

He says that the government will prohibit all gatherings of more than 50 people under the order and force the closure of all facilities providing indoor recreational programs, all public libraries and private schools, all licenced childcare centres, all bars and restaurants that don’t provide takeout services and all theatres, cinemas and concert venues.

The following establishments are closed effective immediately:

  • Indoor recreational programs
  • All public libraries
  • All public schools
  • All licenced childcare centres
  • All licenced bars and restaurants, other than takeout and delivery
  • Dance studios
  • Cinemas, movies and concert venues

Ford said the move does not mean a “provincial shutdown” of all businesses and services.

Essential services including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and public transit will continue.

As of Monday evening, there were 177 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, though five are considered resolved.

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