TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) — While much of the world looks forward to the first stages of recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, public health officials in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, have reinstated lockdown protocols for a least a month amid spiraling infection rates.
On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford cleared the province’s third state of emergency, which included a four-week stay at home order that limits travel in the province to essential purposes.
“Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for exercise close to home and with the people you live with, or for work that cannot be done remotely,” the provincial government announced.
“As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the stay-at-home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.”
Under the terms of the emergency order, essential retailers are required to focus on the sale of items such as groceries, medicine, pet supplies, and other household essentials while non-essential retail locations have been ordered to return to limited hours and curbside pickup.
The orders also limit public gatherings, and more controversially, virtual concerts, which many venues have turned to in order to survive amid the industry-wide shutdown imposed by the pandemic.
The limit, which was announced last Thursday as part of Premier Doug Ford’s “Emergency brake” plan, prohibits indoor public gatherings, and limits the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, which effectively spells an end to virtual shows for the next four weeks.
According to the Canadian Press, the new restrictions have already impacted Toronto venue owners, including the Horseshoe Tavern, which postponed several upcoming virtual shows including performances by the Trews, Terra Lightfoot and Hawksley Workman.
Ontario reported 3,215 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with one third of those new cases coming from Toronto.