Ontario Premier Doug Ford will be convening with his cabinet Monday night to discuss the implementation of new pandemic-related lockdown restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the province, CP24 reports.
The Ford government implemented a full, province-wide lockdown beginning on Boxing Day, following measures which had already been taken in regions such as Toronto where infection rates are higher. Despite the new restrictions, however, coronavirus cases have continued to rise in Ontario.
The new lockdown measures will be announced by the Ford government on Tuesday morning.
"Well we worked all weekend, right until late hours last night, we’ll be going to cabinet with recommendations tonight and we will make an announcement tomorrow," Ford said.
The announcement comes amid rumours of a looming curfew mandate. The government of Quebec has already implemented curfew measures as a method of controlling the spread of coronavirus, forcing most citizens, with some exceptions, into their homes as early as 8:00 pm.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he would not necessarily be opposed to curfews, but questions whether they would work. "I don't rule a curfew out, but I really question whether it will be the most effective. If you have a curfew, can we enforce it?" Tory pondered.
Tory instead insisted that there are other restrictions which could be easier to enforce to help control the spread of the virus. "If you said to me that short of a curfew you had to put more hours of restrictions on when you could get food, I would be perfectly comfortable with that," Tory said.
The mayor also suggested that there could be more limits in place on retail services, in particular big box stores, which he suggests have been given unfair preferential treatment during the pandemic. "I never understood for the life of me that if we were going to close down small retail, and say you couldn’t go in those stores and they couldn’t be open except for curbside pickup, and thank heavens for at least that, I never understood that," Tory said. "If we’re going to say retail is closed, then it is closed."
He also suggested that banks could be shut down as they were in the early spring, as Ontarians could bank online anyway.
Tory did insist, however, that action needs to be taken soon. "Every day puts more strain on the health-care system and frankly gets more people sick," he said.
Ontario recorded 3,945 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the highest single day increase since the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly a third of those new cases were in Toronto alone.
Public health experts insist that new daily case counts could rise to as high as 6,000 by the end of the month.
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