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Ontario declares state of emergency, orders many businesses to close

The directive will allow the province to more swiftly direct funding and other resources where needed.

Canada’s largest province has declared a state of emergency amid COVID-19’s spread across Canada.

Ontario premier Doug Ford announced the change in the province’s status at a press conference Tuesday morning.

The directive will allow the province to more swiftly direct funding and other resources where needed.

Under the order, all public events with more than 50 people have been banned, and facilities like libraries, bars, cinemas, and daycares have been ordered to close.

Restaurants must also shut down, though takeout and delivery services are exempt.

“This is not a provincial shutdown. I repeat: this is not a provincial shutdown,” Ford said. “The vast majority of businesses, including those most vital to day-to-day life will not be affected by this order. Essential services and essential needs will be available to every individual and family.”

The government of Ontario is also investing $304 million into the province’s efforts to combat COVID-19. The funding will go towards:

  • Increased capacity in hospitals: $100 million
  • More testing and screening through public health: $50 million 
  • Further protect frontline workers, first responders and patients: $50 million
  • Supporting frontline workers: $25 million
  • Long-term care homes: $50 million
  • Residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth: $20 million
  • Protect seniors in retirement homes: $5 million
  • Indigenous communities: $4 million 

Ford made it clear that despite the mass-shutdown of many businesses, Ontario is not entering a total lockdown like those seen in countries such as China and Italy.

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