Ontario has issued a stay-at-home order as part of new efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As part of the new regulations, all non-essential construction is closed, and all businesses must ensure that employees that are able to, work from home.
The new rules come into effect on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m., and are expected to last for 28 days.
Cases of the coronavirus, and hospitalizations are now at an all-time high since the pandemic reached Ontario.
“Everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips and only go out to pick-up groceries or go to medical appointments,” Premier Doug Ford said during the announcement. “Folks, there will soon be some really dark days ahead and some turbulent waters, but we will get through this.”
Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey. Essential construction is defined as work on health care and critical infrastructure, as well as residential buildings.
“I know a stay-at-home order is a drastic measure,” Ford said. “My friends, this situation is extremely serious, I can’t stress that enough.”
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“Without significant reductions in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the first wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. “Our actions are key to controlling the spread of the disease.”
For jobsites deemed essential, the province’s “Stay Safe All Day” campaign may mean an increase in inspections.
Provincial inspectors will use a data-driven approach to focus on workplaces with reported COVID-19 outbreaks, including manufacturing businesses, warehouses, distribution centres, food processing operations, construction projects and publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores.
The Ministry is also using a new data-sharing program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Retirement Regulatory Authority, to focus onsite inspections of long-term-care homes and retirement homes.