The Ontario government‘s stay-at-home order is now in effect across the province as officials grapple with trying to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The order, which was the subject of confusion after details were gradually released throughout the day on Wednesday, came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. It comes two days after the provincial government declared a state of emergency.
Premier Doug Ford pleaded with residents on Wednesday to limit trips outside of the home to “essential” purposes.
“If you’re not sure if a trip is absolutely essential, it probably isn’t,” Ford told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
“So please, you must stay home … Stay home. Stay home. That’s it.”
Provincial officials said there’s no set definition for what is “essential” because everyone has their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. There’s no limit on how many times people can leave their homes per day, or on how long they can be out.
Critics said the lack of a definition for what’s essential, as well as a dearth of details on how the order will be enforced, make it confusing.
What you can and can’t do under the government’s stay-at-home order
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Details of the provincial regulation were released Wednesday evening. Under the order, residents were required to stay at their homes and their properties as much as possible. However, here are the exemptions for leaving home under the government’s order:
– To attend workplaces, schools, post-secondary institutions
– To attend or provide child care, training or educational services
– To buy or pickup food, drinks personal care items, medications, cleaning and maintenance items of homes, businesses and vehicles
– To pickup orders from businesses allowed to provide curbside service
– To attend medical appointments or other businesses where appointments are allowed
– To attend banks and cheque-cashing businesses
– To access government and social services, mental health and addictions supports
– To deliver goods, care or support to people who require assistance, those in congregate care settings who need care and to accompany those who need assistance leaving their homes
– To take a child to their parent or guardian
– To take someone in the same home to an approved place under the order
– To help oneself or others who are experiencing domestic violence, living in unsafe conditions or those in need of emergency assistance
– To do physical exercise or to exercise an animal
– To attend a place related to the “administration of justice”
– To exercise a Section 35 Indigenous or treaty right
– To travel to an airport or transit station for a purpose of going somewhere outside of Ontario
– To attend a wedding, funeral or religious service as approved under existing provincial orders
– To visit a household if the person visiting lives alone
– To buy or obtain animal food or supplies, veterinary services
The order also said people are allowed to travel, if doing so for an exempt purpose, to another home if the person is going to be at the residence for less than 24 hours or is going to live at the home for at least two weeks. If a person is caring for parents, guardians or if they are acting as a caregiver, people are allowed to travel to perform those purposes.
For those who are moving or are making arrangements to buy or sell a property, to begin or end a lease, they will also be allowed to travel under the order.
According to COVID-19 data released by the Ontario government on Wednesday, there were almost 3,000 new cases there are currently 1,674 people hospitalized due to coronavirus — an decrease of 27 patients from the day before.
Of those patients, 385 people are in intensive care units and 276 are on ventilators (a day-over-day increase of 14 patients).
To date, 224,984 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 5,127 have died. The government reported 190,221 people have recovered from the virus.
— With files from The Canadian Press