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Coronavirus: Ontario orders further workplace closures, halt to many construction projects

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WATCH ABOVE: The Ontario government has announced further business closures and a shutdown of many construction sites in response to the coronavirus pandemic. – Apr 3, 2020

The Ontario government has announced further business closures and a shutdown of many construction sites in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“My government is prepared to take every step possible and today I’m asking you to do the same,” Premier Doug Ford said in an update Friday afternoon.

“Today we’re taking additional steps to flatten the curve. We’re announcing the closure of many more sectors of the economy and I can tell you this was no easy task.”

READ MORE: Ontario projects just under 1,600 COVID-19 deaths, 80,000 cases by end of April

The order takes effect as of Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and is scheduled to last for 14 days.

Ford said all industrial construction will be stopped. Only essential infrastructure-related projects will proceed. No new residential construction will take place under the order, adding inspections will be stepped up. However, residential projects near completion will be allowed to continue.

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As for businesses, the Ontario government lowered the number of essential workplace categories to 44 from 74. While several new businesses will be ordered to close, some will be mandated to provide services through different ways such as delivery and curbside pickups.

Physical cannabis stores were also included in the closure order.

READ MORE: All non-essential workplaces ordered to close in Ontario

The announcement comes after the Ontario government announced projected COVID-19 numbers to be just under 1,600 COVID-19 deaths and 80,000 cases by the end of April if the current measures in place are upheld.

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“The reality is the early chapters of our story have already been written and there are some things that are out of anyone’s hands,” Ford said.

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“But what matters is the ending of our story is still up to us.”

Revised list of essential workplaces

Source: Government of Ontario

Businesses and operations not listed under the government’s order must temporarily close as of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday for two weeks.

Supply chains
“Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services within Ontario, or that supply businesses or services that have been declared essential in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario, with the support, products, supplies, systems, or services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery, and maintenance necessary to operate.”

Food and drink
“Businesses that primarily sell food, beverages and consumer products necessary to maintain households and businesses, including supermarkets and grocery stores, convenience stores, discount and big-box retailers selling groceries, restaurants (take out, drive-through and delivery service only), beer and wine and liquor stores.”

Services
Pharmacies, gas stations and fuel suppliers, laundromats and dry cleaners, security services for properties, vehicle and equipment repair and maintenance businesses, courier and postal services, funeral homes and related businesses, temporary staffing services, urgent care veterinary services and other businesses responsible for the health and welfare of animals, home childcare for up to six children and childcare for emergency services workers, hotels, motels and other shared rental accommodations (except for recreational amenities at those properties and seasonal campgrounds), cheque cashing services

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Businesses required to provide curbside pickups, delivery except in exceptional circumstances
Stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and safety

Financial services
Businesses that provide capital markets trading and advisory services, banking and/or credit union activities as well as credit intermediation, insurance, land registration, real estate agents, pension and benefits payment services, financial services including payroll and payment processing, accounting and tax services

Telecommunications, IT
Information technology services, online services, software products as well as the facilities needed to operate those services, telecommunications providers and services as well as the facilities needed to operate those services, newspapers, radio and television broadcasting

Maintenance
“Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.”

Transportation services
Businesses, operators and facilities that provide transportation (air, water, rail, taxis, private transportation providers), marinas (only where people live primarily), support services for transportation businesses and operators (logistical support, distribution, warehousing and storage, truck stops, tow operators, maintenance services), businesses that provide and support online retail

Manufacturing
“Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers, (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer), regardless of whether those other manufacturers are inside or outside of Ontario, together with businesses that support and facilitate the movement of goods within integrated North American and global supply chains.”

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Agriculture and food production
Businesses producing food, beverages and agricultural products, businesses processing, manufacturing and distributing food, drinks, crops, agricultural products and animal products and by-products, as well as businesses supporting the food and agricultural products supply chains and the health and safety of food, animals and plants

Construction
Health care construction projects and related services, infrastructure-related projects (including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond day-to-day maintenance), critical petrochemical- and refinery-related maintenance construction or where preliminary work has begun for significant related projects, industrial modifications needed for making personal protective equipment, medical devices and other needed materials related to COVID-19, residential construction where footing permits have been granted for homes and where above-grade structural permits have been granted for condominiums and other buildings, and renovation projects for residential properties that began before April 4, construction and maintenance activities needed to temporarily close sites for public safety purposes

Resources and energy
Businesses providing resources for the supply chain (mining, forestry, aggregates, petroleum, petroleum by-products and chemicals), electricity generation, storage and distribution, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage

Community services
Government services (including law enforcement, jails, fire and emergency services, paramedics, coroners and pathology services, courts, licensing and permit services), professional and social services supporting the justice system, administrative authorities regulating and inspecting businesses, environmental rehabilitation, management and monitoring, critical infrastructure repair and maintenance, potable drinking water, sewage treatment and disposal, waste collection (transportation, storage, processing, disposal, recycling)

Research
Businesses and organizations that operate and maintain research facilities

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Health care and social services
Home care and personal support services for seniors and persons with disabilities, regulated health professionals (only for urgent care issues), organizations and institutions providing health care (retirement homes, long-term care homes, hospitals, clinics, mental health and addictions counselling), laboratories and specimen collection centres, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, businesses related to logistical support for products and services that support health care delivery, not-for-profit organizations providing personal support services at homes, not-for-profit organizations providing food, shelter, safety and protection, social services and other necessities of life

— With files from Gabby Rodrigues and Jessica Patton