COVID-19: Ontario now under provincewide 'shutdown' to control spread of virus

WATCH ABOVE: (April 1) Ontario and parts of Quebec will be under strict lockdown conditions, as COVID-19 cases spike. Aaron McArthur reports.

Public health restrictions have tightened across Ontario as the province is now under a “shutdown.”

The measures were introduced to combat what Premier Doug Ford calls an “alarming” surge in COVID-19 infections and are set to last for four weeks.

The government is asking Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services, but stopped short of imposing a stay-at-home order like it did in January.

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Capacity is limited in retail stores — to 50 per cent for those deemed essential, and 25 per cent for non-essential retailers — while restaurants are restricted to takeout, delivery and drive-through service.

Personal care services must also close.

But schools are set to remain open following the spring break, which begins on April 12, because the province says they are crucial to students’ mental health.

Thursday’s announcement came hours after the province’s science advisers said stay-at-home orders were needed to control the third wave driven by more contagious and deadly COVID-19 variants.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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