Dec 21, 2020

By Christine Ross

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As expected, most of Ontario will be locked down for up to four weeks beginning Boxing Day. That’s when Northern Ontario will be locked down for two weeks and the rest of the province for four weeks.

“This difficult action is without a doubt necessary to save lives and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” a somber Premier Doug Ford told reporters. “Make no mistake, thousands of lives are at stake right now and if we fail to take action now, the consequences could be catastrophic.”

To highlight the dire situation in healthcare, William Osler Health CEO Dr. Naveed Mohammad joined the Premier at the briefing.

“Osler’s two acute care hospitals, Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General have been very seriously impacted by the rise in COVID-19 cases and just this morning, we have 147 cases of COVID-19 in our organization.”

Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open but other retailers can offer curbside pick up only. Big box retailers selling groceries will still be allowed to stay open at a reduced capacity.

The government also announced the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant to provide a minimum of $10,000 dollars to help small business owners.

School closures over the winter break are being extended ; students from kindergarten to Grade 8 resume in-class instruction January 11th, high school students resume virtual learning on the 11th and return to class on January 25th.

The premier also says he’s alarmed by reports of a new strain of COVID-19 and is urging the federal government to implement tighter security at the borders and to test passengers.

Ford rejects imposing a curfew, calling it a `draconian measure`.

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