Apr 01, 2021

By Jane Brown

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It is now being widely reported that the governing PCs at Queens Park will use the so-called “emergency brake” to put Ontario in lockdown for at least a month to reverse the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Premier Doug Ford met with his cabinet ministers last night after hinting at the move earlier in the day.

“Stay tuned, you’ll hear an announcement tomorrow,” Ford said Wednesday, “I’m very very concerned to see the cases go up, I’m concerned to see the ICU capacity and we all have to be vigilant and throughout the holidays over the next few days, I’m just asking people, don’t gather in large groups.”

Final details of the new measures are apparently to be worked out Thursday morning, but various reports say the shutdown will begin on Saturday April 3rd.

Across the province indoor gatherings would only be allowed with members of the same household, while outdoor gatherings would be limited to five people with physical distancing.

Restaurants across the province would go back to offering only delivery and take out.

Personal care services, which were supposed to open April 12th in grey zones, would have to stay shutdown.

Essential stores would remain open with 50 percent capacity, while non-essential retail would be limited to 25 percent.

As for schools, they would remain open after the Easter Weekend.

The latest report from Critical Care Services Ontario reveals there are now 421 people with COVID-19 in the province’s intensive care units, surpassing the peak during the second wave of the pandemic in January.

Experts advising the Ontario government have said people who contract the B.1.1.7. variant, which is now dominant, face a 63 percent increased risk of hospitalization and a 103 percent increased risk of being admitted to intensive care.

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