Ontario’s stay-at-home order causes chaos at anti-lockdown protests

by | Feb 5, 2021 | News

On Jan. 12 Premier Doug Ford invoked a stay-at-home order, forcing citizens into their homes.

But the decision is getting pushback from some and protests are happening in force, with some even leading to arrests.

The restrictions include limiting people from going out except for necessities, such as getting groceries or medication and attending medical appointments, as well as allowing essential workers to go to their jobs.

“There will be soon, some very dark days ahead,” said Ford at a news conference at Queens Park. “I need you to do your part, stay home, save lives, protect our health care system.”

The stay-at-home order was a confusing one for citizens, lacking the clarity something like Quebec’s curfew did. Even the police, the people responsible for enforcing the order, were left confounded.

“There’s way more questions than we have answers at this time,” Joe Couto, a spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Chief of Police, said to reporters on Jan. 12.

The order has also led to protests across the province, including Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square, Younge-Dundas Square, and even Queen’s Park.

Multiple arrests were made at the gatherings for failing to comply with the province’s emergency orders, but also for assaulting and obstructing an officer.

Mayor John Tory even had protesters outside his condo building and said he was glad to see officers responding.

“Breaking the law is breaking the law, it’s also just unsafe for them with each other,” Tory said on Jan. 17. “It’s a risk to other people who are out and about, it just not right and not safe.”

Ford also dropped Roman Baber from the Progressive Conservative caucus for his opposing views on the province’s lockdown and its restrictions claiming that the “lockdown is deadlier than Covid.”

Barber took to Twitter to explain his reasoning, “Lockdowns are deadlier than Covid. I wrote a respectful letter to Premier Ford, asking to end the lockdown,” Baber said in a tweet. “I don’t regret speaking out for millions of lives and livelihoods decimated by Public Health, I serve the public.”