By Charlie Senack
Ontario is announcing a new string of measures coming into effect immediately as COVID-19 indicators show the pandemic will get much worse.
During a press conference on April 16, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford announced the stay-at-home order and shutdown measures will be extended for two more weeks — now lasting six total.
Effective 12:01 am Saturday, peak amenities such as basketball and tennis county’s will close along with play structures. Golf courses will also be forced to close. Gatherings outdoors of any size are no longer permitted, however an individual who lives alone can still join one other household. Religious gatherings, funerals and weddings can all still take place, but now at a cap of 10 people. Essential retail stores will have their capacity levels dropped from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. All non-essential construction will also be put to a halt.
The government is also giving police more authority to stop anyone on the streets and ask why they are out. Individuals will also be forced to provide their home address if asked. Anyone who doesn’t comply could be faced with a $750 fine. Police are also able to pull over any vehicles and ask the same questions.
As of Monday, checkpoints will also be coming to the borders connecting Ontario to Quebec and Manitoba. Only essential cross-border travel will be allowed. Earlier today Ontario’s Science Advisory Table said up to 30,000 new daily COVID-19 infections could be reported in the province if more restrictions weren’t imposed. Over the next two weeks it’s likely Ontario will exceed 800 patients in intensive care units — but that’s saying beds will even be available.
The experts say it could be as high as 1,000 patients in the next two to three weeks. In Ottawa the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is getting prepared to admit adults into their ICU’s if the situation locally gets out of hand. The President of the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa says they have 31 COVID-19 patients — a new record for the hospital. Their ICU is also full of patients coming from the Greater Toronto Area.