Ontario is shutting down all non-essential business for a period of two weeks. The closure is the latest move in the province’s battle to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” said Premier Doug Ford. “But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.” The closure will be in effect Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. and last approximately 2 weeks. There is a possibility of an extension. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow.
The timing will give business able to continue operations 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products. “These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important, Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
“Our top priority must be to protect the health of the people of Ontario,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow the people and the businesses of Ontario to move forward from this unprecedented situation.” A 1-800 number and website will be made available on Wednesday for any inquiries.
“We are working directly with businesses and workers across all sectors to support them in any way possible through this crisis,” Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Vic Fedeli said.