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Ontario to announce new COVID restrictions; curfew not expected

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By Canadian Press	
	 		The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

In an explainer provided to reporters on Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the premier's office said that the "Government of Ontario can not determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations".

"I know the stay at home order is a drastic measure, one we don't take lightly".

"Working people need to have supports to be able to stay home", said Ramsey in an interview with CTV News.

"We now have a well-oiled machine, led by General Hillier, and we are making tremendous progress", said Ford.

The stay at home order will require everyone to remain at home, with the exception for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store, accessing health-care services, exercise, and essential work.

Additionally, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home. By January 20, Ontario's medical officer of health will advise the Ministry of Education on schools in the remaining public health units that will be permitted to resume in-person instruction.

Since the implementation of the province-wide shutdown over two weeks ago, the latest modelling trends in key public health indicators have continued to worsen.

To get people vaccinated earlier, the government is also expanding the list of health care providers who can give out the shots. Officials said almost 40 per cent of long-term care homes have active COVID outbreaks, and that 198 residents have died in the last 11 days. Mobility, and contacts between people have not decreased with the current restrictions.

Wearing a mask is also now recommended outdoors when physical distancing is hard.

The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers now offering delivery and curbside pickup to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and imposed a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.

The restricted hours do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants open for takeout or delivery.

According to the province, all non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction.

"Hospitals are in the process of being overwhelmed, and long-term care homes are in the grips of a deadly crisis".

Ford said the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 are at the highest since the start of the pandemic last spring. Everyone must stay home to save lives.

Ontario's associate medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, said Monday the recommendations before cabinet did not include imposing a curfew, as has been done in Quebec. We are to presume the workplace inspectors will be checking receipts. "It will take the collective efforts of us all to defeat this virus".

The province says it will be issuing guidelines tonight to spell out the parameters of the order for law enforcement agencies. "That's it", Ford said during a press conference on Wednesday.

How are people in Ontario reacting to the new order?

This includes parks or houses.

The vaccination of all staff and residents in long-term care homes in four areas with the highest rates of transmission, Toronto, Peel and York is expected to be completed by January 21, 2021 - Windsor-Essex already completed this phase of the vaccination process.

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