Ford announces lockdowns of Peel, Toronto, but schools and child care centres remain open

by | Nov 20, 2020 | Headlines, News

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Friday lockdowns for Peel Region and Toronto to curb the virus and ease the strain on hospitals in those areas. (Youtube/Premier of Ontario Youtube)

Toronto and Peel are moving back into a lockdown resembling what citizens went through at the beginning of the pandemic, Premier Doug Ford announced Friday.

The order will come into effect Mon. Nov. 23 at 12:01 a.m.

The news comes after startling models last week showed the province could have over 6,000 cases a day by the middle of December with no changes.

The restrictions include not allowing indoor shopping, with businesses only able to offer shipping or curbside pickup. Essential stores will be exempt from this rule and operate at a limit of 50 customers at a time.

Essential stores include supermarkets, hardware stores, department stores, pharmacies, and beer and liquor stores.

Cannabis can only be purchased with curbside pickup.

Restaurants and bars will have to close all in-person dining, including patios, and revert to only offering take out.

In-person gatherings will be limited to 10 people when outdoors and intermingling of households is prohibited even as schools remain open.

“We cannot put in-class learning at risk,” Ford said in his media conference. “To protect our most vulnerable and protect what matters most we have to get the community spread under control.”

The news came the same day as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s address to the nation, where he urged premiers to consider lockdowns to control the second wave of the coronavirus.

“We need to do everything we can right now to slow COVID-19, to stop it in its tracks,” Trudeau said in his media conference four hours before Ford spoke. “Going into lockdown and supporting business while were in that lockdown is a better way of ensuring their success in a few months, in a few years, than trying to tough through a virus that is running around unchecked.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at current rates of contact Canada could have more than 20,000 cases a day before the end of the year.

“Absolutely do not go above what we have now,” Tam said. “Otherwise we’re really in trouble.”

If that rate of contact increases as opposed to holding steady, that rate increases to a possible 60,000 a day.

Ontario passed the 100,000-case mark Friday with 1,418 new cases and eight new deaths.

The province also hit 150 patients in its ICU’s yesterday, which experts say will lead to the cancellation of some elective procedures.

The closure will last for at least 28 days, with the province evaluating the situation after that period.

Violations of the rules could lead to a $750 fine, Health Minister Christine Elliott said.