Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency for Ontario amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is a decision that was not made lightly,” said Ford.
While it was recommended by Toronto Public Health on Monday, Ontario has prohibited public events of over 50 people, and now mandated the closure of restaurants and bars until March 31. Restaurants can still provide take out.
This comes into effect immediately.
“This is not a provincial shut down,” Ford said. “I repeat, this is not a provincial shut down.”
“We must not delay as COVID-19 continues to spread, the government must take all the actions necessary,” he said.
Ford urged calm across the province, adding there is no level of support they won’t consider.
He said the province has been preparing for every scenario.
“We are taking the steps necessary to protect you and your loved ones. We are taking this step now while our system remains strong,” said the Premier. “By declaring a state of emergency our province will be in the position to act as fast as needed”
According to Ford, the first stage of Ontario’s COVID-19 relief package includes $300 million for immediate measures to protect the health of Ontarians. As well, Ford said frontline public health centres will get more resources and support such as supplies like gowns, masks, and ventilators.
“We must flatten the curve and help stop the curve of COVID-19,” Ford said. “We must come together as a province.”
As of Monday, there were 177 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ontario, five of which are resolved.
More to come