Doug Ford to announce provincewide lockdown on Friday

Grant Boone
April 4, 2021

"They spread faster and they do more harm than the virus we were fighting previous year".

At a news conference Wednesday, Ford said he was "extremely concerned" about both rising ICU admissions and daily case counts.

All regions across the province of Ontario will be entering a sweeping shutdown as of April 3 to curb the spread of unsafe variants of concern, and that means new indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also come into effect.

The government has said that the shutdown will last at least one month, or until May 3.

Capacity is limited in retail stores - to 50 per cent for those deemed essential, and 25 per cent for non-essential retailers - while restaurants are restricted to takeout, delivery and drive-through service.

Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors.

COVID variants now account for most new cases, and are more contagious and deadly, according to the advisory table.

The number of current hospitalizations is more than 20 per cent higher than those in December, as is the seven-day average of new daily cases of COVID-19.

All indoor and outdoor sports and recreation facilities are also prohibited from operating.

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Schools will remain open for in-person learning, although some Ontario students have been learning virtually since September.

Personal care services must also close.

People are seen outside the Rideau Centre in Ottawa last December as they tried to complete their holiday shopping before a provincewide lockdown took effect on Boxing Day.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has been in the red-control zone of the framework since the shutdown ended, with the exception of a week (March 1-7) in grey-lockdown.

Global reports that its sources say indoor dining and patios will be banned during the lockdown.

Ontario is reporting 2,557 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 more deaths linked to the virus.

"They are useful from an infection control standpoint - this has implications on how these people are treated in the healthcare system in terms of precaution - but in terms of what the public actually cares about, it's how many people are critically ill due to complications from COVID-19".

While the provincial government is not introducing an official stay-at-home order as experts have recommended this time around, Ontarians are once again being asked to leave the house only for necessities and to refrain from gathering with people outside their household.

The previous peak of 420 came in mid-January, during the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

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