By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service
(Eagle News) —Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a province-wide state of emergency Wednesday that includes a stay-at-home order.
It takes effect tomorrow will last for at least four weeks.
“The reality is, despite everything we’ve done so far, the COVID-19 situation in Ontario is getting worse as these new variants continue to spread,” Ford told a news conference. “To boil it down as simple as possible – folks, please, unless it’s for an essential reason, please stay home because the situation is extremely serious.”
Under the order, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup or delivery of items.
Access to shopping malls will be restricted.
In-person shopping in discount and big-box stores is restricted to sales of grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only.
Schools and daycares will remain open in areas where it is permitted.
Health care at risk
Ford says the situation has put the health care system at risk.
“Things are extremely, extremely serious right now and I’m extremely concerned,” he said. “Our hospitals are reaching capacity, and patients in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) must now be sent to other parts of the province for care.”
Ford says admissions to intensive care are increasing faster than the worst-case scenario predicted by experts.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says people infected with Covid variants are flooding the hospitals and that’s affecting people with other health issues.
“That’s why we’re having to cancel most surgeries and procedures, many of which have been delayed for a long period of time, and why many people are having to be transferred from one hospital to another,” said Elliott.
As far as enforcing the order, Ford is relying on people to follow the rules.
“Everyone knows we don’t have enough police officers to run around and chase people down and knock on 15-million people’s homes,” he said. “We’re asking for their cooperation.”
(Eagle News Service)