Jan 12, 2021

By Christine Ross

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Premier Doug Ford says Ontario’s health care system is on the brink of collapse. With figures showing one-third of Ontarians not following public health guidelines, Ford is imposing a new stay-at-homeĀ  model . Starting Thursday, people will only be allowed to venture out for essential activities such as health care appointments or grocery shopping.

Ford says this is different from a curfew.

“I’ll tell you why I’ve never been in favour of a curfew, that’s a hard, hard lockdown, cars aren’t driving around, nothing at all,” said Ford. “If you have to walk your dog around the block, walk your dog, if you need to stretch your legs, walk around the block.”

Public gatherings are limited to five, and non essential stores like hardware and LCBO can only open between 7 a.m.and 8 p.m.

Solicitor General Syliva Jones says enforcement is being beefed up at retail stores, businesses and elsewhere.

“Let me be clear, if people are found not complying with these orders they will be subject to fines and persecution, penalties may include up to a year in jail.”

OPP, local police, provincial workplace inspectors can issue tickets to those who don’t comply with the order, or those not wearing a face covering.

And Doug Ford has a message for big box stores like Costco and Walmart.

“I’m going to come down on them like an 800 lb. gorilla, if they aren’t following the protocol and if they don’t have 50 percent in the stores, there’s going to be consequences.”

Asked why the provincial government isn’t providing 10 days of paid sick leave requested by advocates, Ford says he doesn’t to duplicate federal support programs.

Schools in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex will not re-open for in-person learning until February 10th. Non-essential construction is closed, but a release from the province suggests only new construction is not allowed.

This latest state of emergency is in place for at least 28 days.

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