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Coronavirus: Ontario restricting outdoor fires during COVID-19 outbreak

The use of fireworks, sky lanterns and burn barrels or cages of any size are also allowed.
The use of fireworks, sky lanterns and burn barrels or cages of any size are also allowed. File / Global News

The Ontario government is restricting outdoor fires to ensure the province’s emergency response can focus on the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, announced that starting Friday, the province’s entire legislated fire region will be designed at “Restricted Fire Zone.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 6 Toronto firefighters test positive for COVID-19

Residents who live in an area with a restricted fire zone cannot have an outdoor fire. This includes burning of grass or debris, campfires, or the use of an outdoor fire grate, fireplace or fire pit.

“During this very challenging time when we are fighting the spread of the virus, our number one priority is the health and safety of the people of Ontario,” stated Yakabuski.

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“We are putting these important preventative measures in place now to ensure that our emergency responders are able to focus their efforts where they are needed most.”

First responders facing growing strain of COVID-19 outbreak
First responders facing growing strain of COVID-19 outbreak

Yakabuski says the restriction will remain in place until Ontario’s ability to respond to emergencies is no longer impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Municipalities are working to update their websites with information for residents.

Further rules under a restricted fire zone are available on the government’s website.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Premier Doug Ford tells people to avoid cottage country
Premier Doug Ford tells people to avoid cottage country

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.