Ontario Government Clarifies Stay-At-Home Guidelines & There Is Nothing Confusing About It

Stay at home order

The Ontario government, lead by Doug Ford, has been navigating these uncertain times relatively well judging by his approval numbers. However when Doug Ford made his pitch to the province of Ontario about his new stay-at-home orders some people couldn’t figure out what he meant.

Leaving so many confused, Ford in his folksy ways, decided to come back out the next day for round 2, in an attempt to quell the confusion regarding his intial announcement.

With Fords announcement of the stay-at-home orders on January 12th, the Conservative Premier of Ontario included different rules for certain parts of the province.

Justifiably so, as the case numbers in Northern Ontario have been relatively low compared to southern regions of the province. This could be attributed to the strict compliance we have seen in areas such as Greater Sudbury, where people have put their partisan stripes away and rallied together for the good of the city.

In the reporting area for the Public Health Sudbury and Districts, there have been 380 cases to date with the bulk of the 76 active cases coming in just these past couple weeks. Another thing to consider is that a large number of the active cases are people aged 80 or older. With a disease that can have fatal consequences to the elderly this will be very concerning but may also skew the numbers for further public health decisions.

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Nonetheless, the Doug Ford lead Progressive Conservatives have initiated a lockdown which has been extended to mid February. For Northern regions we are seeing some things a little different as our schools remain open for in-person learning, which will surely benefit the mental health of the children of Northern Ontario.

With Doug Ford’s Declaring an Emergency some people want to know exactly what that means. With the declaration of emergency installed here is exactly what you need to know.

Declaration of Emergency

1. (1) Every individual shall remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving their place of residence is necessary for one or more of the following purposes:

Work, school and child care

  1. Working or volunteering where the nature of the work or volunteering requires the individual to leave their residence, including when the individual’s employer has determined that the nature of the individual’s work requires attendance at the workplace:

2. Attending school or a post-secondary institution.

  1. Attending, obtaining or providing child care.
  2. Receiving or providing training or educational services.

Obtaining goods and services

  1. Obtaining food, beverages and personal care items.
  2. Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an individual, including health care services and medications.
  3. Obtaining goods, obtaining services, or performing such activities as are necessary for the safe operation, maintenance and sanitation of households, businesses, means of transportation or other places.
  4. Purchasing or picking up goods through an alternative method of sale, such as curbside pickup, from a business or place that is pe1mitted to provide curbside pickup under the Stage 1 Order.
  5. Attending an appointment at a business or place that is pe1mitted to be open by appointment under the Stage 1 Order.
  6. Obtaining services from a financial institution or cheque cashing service.
  7. Obtaining government services, social services and supports, mental health supp01t services or addictions suppo1t services.

Assisting others

12. Delivering goods or providing care or other suppo1t or assistance to an individual who requires support or assistance, or receiving such support or assistance, including,

i. providing care for an individual in a congregate care setting, and

ii. accompanying an individual who requires assistance leaving their residence for any purpose permitted under this Order.

  1. Taking a child to the child’s parent or guardian or to the parent or guardian’s residence.
  2. Taking a member of the individual’s household to any place the member of the household is pe1mitted to go under this Order.

Health, safety and legal purposes

15. Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an individual, including,

i. protecting oneself or others from domestic violence,

ii. leaving or assisting someone in leaving unsafe living conditions, and

iii. seeking emergency assistance.

16. Exercising, including,

i. walking or moving around outdoors using an assistive mobility device, or ii. using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open under the

Stage 1 Order.

  1. Attending a place as required by law or in relation to the administration ofjustice.
  2. Exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right as recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Multiple residences and moving

19. Travelling to another residence of the individual if,

i. the individual intends to be at the residence for less than 24 hours and is attending for one ofthe purposes set out in this order; or

ii. the individual intends to reside at the residence for at least 14 days.

  1. Travelling between the homes of parents, guardians or caregivers, if the individual isunder their care.
  2. Making arrangements to purchase or,sell a residence or to begin or end a residential lease.
  3. Moving residences.

Travel

23. Travelling to an airport, bus station or train station for the purpose of travelling to a destination that is outside of the Province.

Gatherings

24. Attending a gathering for the purpose of a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order or making necessary arrangements for the purpose of such a gathering.

25. If the individual lives alone, gathering with the members of a single household.

Animals

  1. Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an animal, including obtaining veterinary services.
  2. Obtaining animal food or supplies.
  3. Doing anything that is necessaty to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an animal, including protecting an animal from suffering abuse.
  4. Walking or otherwise exercising an animal.

(2) Despite subsection (1), no person shall attend a business or place that is required to be closed under the Stage 1 Order, except to the extent that tempora1y access to the closed business or place is permitted under subsection 1 (6) of Schedule 1 to the Stage 1 Order.

(3) This Order does not apply to individuals who are homeless.

(4) If this Order allows an individual to leave their residence to go to a place, it also authorizes them to return to their residence from that place.

(5) The requirement in subsection (1) to remain at an individual’s place of residence does not prevent the individual from accessing outdoor parts of their place of residence, such as a backyard, or accessing indoor or outdoor common areas of the communal residences in which they reside that are open, including lobbies.

(6) For greater certainty, nothing in this Order permits a business or place to be open if it is required to be closed under the Stage 1 Order.

(7) For greater certainty, nothing in this Order permits an individual to gather with other individuals if the gathering is not pe1mitted under the Stage 1 Order.

(8) For greater certainty, individuals may only attend an outdoor organized public event or social gathering that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order for a purpose set out in subsection (1).

Should you decide to break these orders there are fines set up to help combat failure to comply. These fines are steep and include.

Fines For Not Complying

In the order you are limited to gathering indoors with more than 5 people. You can do so outdoors but have to remain at least 2 meters apart. Should you disobey these strict rules you can be subject to a $750 fine and if you are the organizer of such an event that allows more than this you can be subject to a $10,000 fine. An exception to this rule is for funerals, weddings and religious services where you can gather in groups of 10.

If you are a business and not following the rules you may see some fines as well. The fines set out for businesses are steep in some instances. The enforcement officers are authorized to issue fines of $750 for not following an order and $1000 for preventing others from following an order. This includes preventing employees, individuals or other workers from following the order.

Doug Ford also installed restrictions on stores and the hours that they are able to operate. This includes retail stores which are now only allowed to operate from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m..

However this does not include:

supermarkets

grocery stores

convenience stores

indoor farmers market’s and other stores that primarily sell food

discount and big box retailers that sell groceries

pharmacies

gas stations

restaurants for takeout and delivery only

In store shopping can also continue, but there are certain restrictions in place to limit the amount of people in the establishment.

These limitations include:

supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmer’s markets and other stores that primarily sell food: 50%

capacity pharmacies: 50%

capacity discount and big-box retailers that sell groceries: 25% capacity

stores that sell beer, wine and spirits: 25% capacity

There are also stipulations for stores that wish to continue with inshore shopping by appointment only. These stores fall under this category.

safety supply stores businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive, mobility or medical devices, aids or related supplies

optical stores that sell prescription eyewear

businesses that sell cars, trucks, motorcycles and other motor vehicles

Also the shopping malls can be open for these specific reasons:

access to grocery stores, pharmacies and health care services, such as a dentist’s office

picking up purchases from a designated pickup area, either: indoors, by appointment only outdoors, with no prior appointment needed

Outdoor activities that are staying closed on Doug Ford’s list are:

Downhill skiing, golf courses and outdoor driving ranges are closed to the public.

Maintenance is allowed.

You will be allowed to attend these outdoor establishment:

Cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and dog sledding can stay open, as long as they follow public health requirements.

If you are interested you can access a list of nonessential construction right here.

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