Non-essential retailers must close, box stores have new restrictions and eviction enforcement is suspended
The order, which takes effect at 12:01 am on April 8, will last four weeks. During this period, Ontarians are required to remain at home and only go out except for essential reasons, which includes going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), outdoor exercise, to attend school or to go to work that cannot be done remotely. See the full list of 29 essential reasons here.
With variants of concern causing a surge in new COVID-19 cases, Ford said the measures are needed to protect the health-care system from becoming overwhelmed. Patients in the GTA are now being flown to other parts of the province for care due to capacity issues. Ford also said intensive care unit admissions are increasing faster than the worst-case scenario predicted by experts.
“Things are extremely, extremely serious right now and I’m extremely concerned,” Ford said.
The new stay-at-home order is similar to the previous one that expired in March – with a few exceptions. Grocery stores and pharmacies will continue to have in-person shopping with restrictions. However, this time big-box stores will only be able to sell essential items, such as groceries, medicine, personal care items, cleaning supplies and pet supplies.
Outdoor garden centres can remain open at 25 per cent capacity.
Non-essential retailers must also close for in-person shopping, but can operate from curbside pick-up from 6 am to 9 pm. Shopping malls will be limited to specific purposes, such as access to designated pick-up locations via appointment. Enforcement of residential evictions will also be suspended while the order is in effect.
A list of the new measures is below.
Measures include, but are not limited to:
The enforcement of residential evictions is suspended while the stay-at-home order is in effect. However, eviction hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board will continue.
Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions with strict safety measures in place. However, medical officers of health in Toronto and Peel Region have issued section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to close elementary and secondary schools. Toronto’s school closure began on April 7 and will last until at least April 18.
Provincial health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will step up inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in hot zones. To date, there have been 19,500 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations in 2021.