January 2021
Second Provincial Declaration of Emergency

2021-01-14 10:11:57 AM

CATEGORIES: COVID-19

Post has been updated Thursday, January 14th to add additional instructions from the Province. 

On January 12, 2021, the Province declared its second Declaration of Emergency for the COVID-19 Pandemic under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). The Emergency will be in place for at least 28 days.
 
In addition, beginning at 12:01 AM on Thursday, January 14, 2021, a Provincial Stay-At-Home Order will take effect. This requires that everyone stay home and only leave for essential trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments and essential work. The Province is encouraging all employees who can work from home to do so.

Moreover, non-essential construction will be restricted, and non-essential retailers including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and curbside pick-up may be open no earlier than 7:00 AM and no later than 8:00 PM. However, this does not apply to stores that primarily sell food (i.e. pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores) and restaurants open for take-out or delivery.
 

Schools

  • Schools in Public Health Units (PHU) of Peel, Windsor-Essex, Toronto, York and Hamilton will be closed for in-person learning untill at least February 10th.
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams is expected to provide recommendations for the remaining regions by January 20, 2021.
 
Child Care
  • Child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open.
  • On January 22nd, emergency child care for school-aged children will end in approved PHU regions as these elementary schools return to in-person learning.
In areas where in-person elementary learning has been suspended, emergency child care will continue for eligible families in regions subject to school closures, as identified by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
 

Why were these measures introduced?
 
These measures have been introduced as a result of new modelling data released January 12th that suggests an overwhelmed health care system:
  • Hospital admissions have increased ~72% in the last four weeks and 40% of long term care (LTC) homes have active outbreaks.
  • Projecting 1,000 ICU admissions by February.
  • LTC home deaths are projected to be higher than in the first-wave.
The Province is continuing with existing health measures and adding new ones:
  • Mask and face coverings must be work in indoor businesses or organizations that are open, and individuals must wear mask outdoors where physical distancing isn’t possible.
  • Social gatherings are reduced to five people with limited exceptions (consistent with earlier Spring 2020 measures).

Enforcement

The Province will provide authority to all enforcement and provincial offence officers including: Ontario Provincial police and local police, by-law officers and provincial workplace inspectors. Enforcement officers will be allowed to issue tickets for non-compliance with the stay-at-home order, to those not wearing a mask/face-covering indoors, as well as to retail operators and companies who do not enforce these measures.
 
Those who contravene the orders will be subject to fines and/or prosecutions. During the press conference on January 12th, the solicitor general also suggested that these contraveners could face jail time of up to a year.
 
Further, enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are gathering including in parks and homes.
 
Details on the order are likely forthcoming. However, some updates to regulations for Stages 1-3 were updated on January 9th:

Edited: Stay At Home Order, regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

While we wait for the orders (as official confirmation of scope and provisions), some helpful Twitter threads from reporters in the meantime:  
Recall: Declarations of Emergency
 
An emergency declaration made under s. 7.0.1 is terminated 14 days after being made but may be extended for an additional 14 days by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e. Cabinet). Further extensions require approval by the Legislature for periods of up to 28 days.
 
Orders made during the declaration of emergency made under s. 7.0.2 (4) will automatically terminate after 14 days unless they are extended for additional periods of up to 14 days.
 
Orders made under  to s. 7.1 can be for a period of up to 90 days and renewed for additional periods of up to 90 days.

Resources:


 


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