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Canada`s Ontario gives police sweeping powers to enforce stay-at-home orders

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Playgrounds around Toronto have been ordered closed to try to slow the spread of COVID-19

Ontario premier Doug Ford has announced new interprovincial border restrictions, as his province deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Health officials say the only way to flatten the surge of new cases and hospitalizations in the third wave of the pandemic is a six-week stay-at-home order and at least 100,000 vaccinations given per day.

Checkpoints will be erected, starting Monday, along Ontario's borders with Quebec and Manitoba.

All outdoor social gatherings and organized public events are now prohibited except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household.

According to Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, these new temporary authorities during the stay-at-home order include allowing police officers and bylaw officers to require any individual not in a place of residence to provide their goal for not being at home and provide a home address.

In addition, all recreational facilities such as sports fields, playgrounds and golf courses are closed.

Big box stores can remain open, but at only 25 per cent capacity.

Religious gatherings will be capped at 10.

Police will now have the power to stop you and ask for your address and your objective for not being at home.

The rules state that in such cases the shortest and most direct route must be followed.

In a letter to all provinces and territories sent Friday morning, Ontario's Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus said the province was short thousands of nurses and asked whether they had any to spare.

A new model predicts Ontario will have 15,000 new cases everyday by June if the current trajectory of daily cases continues.

Ontario is extending the stay-at-home order to combat the third wave of COVID-19.

Ford said he's also calling on the federal government to "tighten up our global borders".

Police and bylaw officers have been given special authorities to enforce public health measures during stay-at-home orders.

"Our progress is both frustrating and frightening", Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario's science advisory panel, said in presenting the latest projections. By subscribing, you can help us get the story right. As we saw with the Atlantic bubble, as we saw with the Arctic territories, they make decisions around closing off the regions.

The number of new infections is down from the single-day high of 4,812 recorded a day earlier.

However, public health experts have questioned the measure and civil liberties advocates are warning that the move could lead to a rash of racial profiling.

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