Earlier today, Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario will enter a province-wide shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2020.
Southern Ontario health units, of which Simcoe Muskoka is part, will shut down for 28 days, while Northern Ontario will shut down for 14 days.
In Muskoka, that means the following restrictions will begin on Dec. 26:
- Indoor social gatherings with anyone outside of your household are prohibited. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
- No more than 10 people can gather outdoors for organized public events and social gatherings, and they must comply with public health advice on physical distancing.
- Grocery stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies can operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Most retail stores may continue to offer curbside pickup and delivery, but no in-store shopping.
- Indoor access to shopping malls is restricted. Patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only); to essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store); or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
- Publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021. Elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.
- From January 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care for health care and frontline workers will be provided.
- Child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs, and home-based child care services will remain open.
- Outdoor recreation activities can remain open, including parks and recreation areas, playgrounds, ice rinks, snowmobile trails, cross-country ski trails, and ice skating trails, provided physical distancing measures are in place.
- Ski hills must close.
- Most fitness facilities must close.
- Personal care services must close.
- Veterinary services only for services that are necessary for the immediate health and welfare of the animal, or provided through curb side pick-up and drop-off of the animal.
- Tour and guide services must close.
- Libraries may provide curbside pickup and delivery.
- Weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained are limited to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors. Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, as are virtual services.
- Travel outside your region should be limited to only essential purposes.
- Short-term rentals (e.g., cottages, cabins): Are only to be provided to individuals who are in need of housing. This does not apply to short-term rental accommodations that were reserved before the Safe at Home Restrictions period.
- Hotels, motels, lodges, and resorts can remain open, but indoor pools, indoor fitness centres, or other indoor recreational facilities that are part of the operation of these businesses, must close.
- See details on other businesses and services at the link provided at the end of this post.
Trips outside of the home should be limited and only for essential purposes (accessing health care and medication, grocery shopping, child care, exercise alone or people in your household (the people you live with) and in the community where you live, walking pets when required, and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the needs above)
Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
Despite projections provided in a media briefing by Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, this morning that indicate that implementing measures as soon as possible would result in thousands of fewer cases, Premier Ford said that they would not impose these more stringent measures until Dec. 26 to give businesses time to prepare.
He also said that he would not impose curfews as some other jurisdictions around the world have done.
See full details on the province-wide shutdown here (PDF).
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