« This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures, » stated Premier Doug Ford during an early-afternoon news conference Monday from Toronto. « But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first.”
Quebec Premier François Legault asked all nonessential businesses in his province to shut down to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of the end of the March 21 weekend there were 39 confirmed cases, including one child, in Québec.
COVID-19 in Ontario
Ontario’s total for confirmed COVID-19 cases is 489 as of Monday, March 23. That includes six deaths related to the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19, and eight cases of people who have recovered from the disease.
The Ontario government will now order all nonessential workplaces closed for 14 days, with the closure taking effect midnight, Tuesday, March 24. The closure order for businesses may be extended after the 14-day period if the pandemic situation does not improve.
The provincial government will release a full list Tuesday, March 24, of what types of businesses are allowed to stay open during the pandemic. All essential services will continue operations to maintain store supply chains to make sure Ontario residents have the necessities, like groceries, medicines, and other products, needed to weather the pandemic.
Any businesses which can continue their operations with their employees either working from home or by other contingency means, will have about 36 hours starting from Monday to adapt and prepare themselves.
The provincial government will also set up a 1-800 and a special information website to handle inquiries related to the business closure and essential services situation.
For a list of essential services, consult the provincial government’s website.