by Mostafa Hetteh
Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in Ontario as the province looks to fight the spread of coronavirus and prevent COVID-19 from overpowering Ontario’s health care system.
“We are facing an unprecedented time in our history.” So, “I have declared a state of emergency in the province of Ontario,” said the Premier at his press conference at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.
The government is using the “Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act” to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the province. Ford said these rules have already been approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in effect until the end of March.
The Premier was joined by Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Finance Minister Rod Phillips and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer.
The move announced by the Ontario government confirms the immediate closure of all bars, child-care centres, theatres, restaurants and recreation centres.
The government confirmed essential services will remain available. Public transit is still running and providing services to citizens, grocery stores remain open, public services are available and office spaces open. Shopping centers will also remain open.
The Premier also announced a $300 million contingency relief package to protect Ontarians during the ordeal of corona virus.
“We are going to bring 75 more critical beds online, 500 post-acute care beds and help hospitals set up 25 more COVID-19 assessment centres,” The premier said.
“We’re backing up our front-line public health workers with more resources for monitoring and testing. We are purchasing more personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, surgical gowns for nurses’ doctors and personal support workers as well as more ventilators.”
The Ontario government has also banned gatherings of more than 50 people. All publicly funded schools will remain closed until April 6.