Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in the province as it looks to combat the spread of COVID-19, sources tell CBC Toronto.
As part of the declaration, the province will mandate the closure of restaurants and bars.
Ford made the announcement at an 8:30 a.m. ET news conference at Queen’s Park alongside Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
As of Monday evening, there were 177 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, though five are considered resolved. Cases are spread geographically throughout the province, though the majority are concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area.
Updated figures are expected to be released around 10:30 a.m.
The legislation that gives the premier and his cabinet the power to declare a state of emergency is the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Among the powers it gives to the premier is the authority to close “any place, whether public or private, including any business, office, school, hospital or other establishment or institution.”
Provincial and Toronto health authorities have said that community spread of the illness can no longer be ruled out. In response, they recommended the temporary closure of:
- Bars and restaurants (except for those that can serve take-out and delivery items).
- Private schools (the Ministry of Education previously ordered all publicly-funded schools closed until at least April 6).
At a news conference on Monday, Ford and several ministers outlined additional impending legislation to ban employers from demanding sick notes for those in self-isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19. Employers will also have to ensure protected leave for workers who have to take unpaid leave to be in self-isolation or quarantine.
If you have lingering questions about COVID-19 in Canada and how it may affect you and your family, you may find this CBC News guide helpful.