Effective today at 11:59 p.m. all Ontario businesses not deemed to be essential are being ordered to close up shop. The Ontario Government announced the decision yesterday in order to help further contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Ford government said the closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending the order depending on how the outbreak of the disease evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released today.
“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “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. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.”
Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. The Province is allowing essential services to continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
The Government has said that a 1-800 number and website will be made available on Wednesday for any inquiries.
“Based on the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at our Command Table, Ontario is taking further action to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. Elliott went on to say that, “These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important.”
“Our top priority must be to protect the health of the people of Ontario,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow the people and the businesses of Ontario to move forward from this unprecedented situation.”
Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade said that the province is listening to the advice of public health officials, “to ensure we take the right actions to support the health and safety of Ontario job creators and workers.” “We are working directly with businesses and workers across all sectors to support them in any way possible through this crisis. We urge the business community to share their innovative ideas and capabilities to fight COVID-19 through our new portal Ontario Together at www.ontario.ca/OntarioTogether.”