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Government Extends Emergency Powers To December As Stay At Home Order Set To Expire

KAWARTHA LAKES-Ontario’s Stay-at-Home order will expire on June 2, 2021 but Conservative MPP’s voted to extend the governments emergency powers to December 2021

When the Stay-At-Home Order expires, all other public health and workplace measures will remain in place province wide until Ontario enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, at which point some restrictions will ease with an initial focus on outdoor settings.

“We’ve seen great progress in our fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “With the Stay-At-Home order set to expire, we need to provide people with certainty so that they can continue to follow public health guidance. Doing so will help us to meet our goal of starting to gradually lift some restrictions when we enter Step One of the Roadmap when it is safe to do so.”

On April 7 the Ontario government declared a provincial emergency and issued a Stay-at-Home order as well as enhanced public health measures. The Stay-At-Home order required Ontarians to remain at home except for the purposes set out in the order, such as exercise, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, or accessing health care services. Once the Stay-at-Home order expires on June 2, these restrictions will no longer be in effect.

However, all other existing measures will remain in place province wide, including restrictions on gatherings, businesses, services and activities. This includes limiting indoor gatherings to households only and outdoor gatherings to up to five people, subject to limited exceptions, maintaining a cap of 25 per cent capacity for essential retail where only certain goods are permitted to be sold, restricting non-essential retail to curbside pickup and delivery only, as well as limiting short-term rentals to individuals in need of housing and allowing Ontario Parks and campgrounds on public lands to be used for day-use only, subject to limited exceptions.

Ontarians will be “allowed” to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason, however, they are not be permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or a caregiver.

The Canadian Federation of Business called Ontario the “lockdown capital of North America” with many businesses being locked down for more than 330 days since the pandemic began.

“Evidence suggests that large, congregate workplaces are the source of COVID-19 spread—not small shops, salons, restaurants or gyms. Yet the government continues to shut down small businesses, some of which are still facing North America’s longest lockdowns,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. “Yes, we face different challenges than we did a year ago, but we also have new tools and more information. It’s time for a new strategy that includes rapid testing, targeted vaccination for essential workers and capacity limits.”

CFIB says it is incredibly disappointed that the Ontario government continues with province-wide small business closures over pivoting to rapid testing and a targeted vaccine rollout for essential workers in hotspot communities to address the third wave of COVID-19.

Conservative MPP’s voted in favour of the government retaining wide-ranging emergency powers on Monday without parliamentary debate. Local MPP Laurie Scott did not vote nor did Premier Ford. The controversial move allows the government to quickly implement restrictions like business closures and gathering limits in less time and with less red tape.

A summary of restrictions can be found on the province’s “Reopening Ontario” webpage, which provides details on what public health measures are in place before the province enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen. As always, anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who may be exhibiting symptoms of the virus should use the province’s self-assessment tool to determine what they should do next, including getting a test and isolating if necessary.

“As we continue to accelerate second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Ontarians, maintaining public health measures will ensure we continue to protect our hospital capacity and help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we look towards Step One of Ontario’s Roadmap and begin to gradually lift public health measures, it remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow public health advice and roll up their sleeves to receive the vaccine. Every dose administered means we are one step closer to the end of the pandemic.”

With the expiry of the Stay-at-Home order, emergency order O. Reg 266/21 (Residential Evictions) will also expire on June 2, 2021. Emergency orders currently in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act have bee nextended until June 16, 2021.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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