COVID-19 Update for March 17, 2020 – 9:00am

State of Emergency declared in Ontario

Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in Ontario.

Closed effective immediately

With the announcement, the following are closed effective immediately:

  • Events and gatherings of more than 50 people;
  • All recreational programs and libraries;
  • All private schools;
  • Public libraries
  • Theatres, cinemas and concert venues;
  • All daycares;
  • All churches and other faith settings; and
  • All bars, restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery.

Vast majority of businesses not affected

The Premier made clear in his remarks that this is not a provincial shutdown and was clear that essential services and the vast majority of businesses will remain open, including

  • Grocery stores;
  • Convenience stores;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Office buildings; and
  • Construction sites.

$300 million in Healthcare Support

Saying the government would “spare no expense to support Ontarians” the Premiere announced a $300 million emergency relief package for immediate measures to fight COVID 19 to surge funding for:

  • 75 more critical care beds;
  • 500 more acute care beds;
  • More COVID-19 assessment centres;
  • 1,000 nurses and personal support workers;
  • 50 more physicians for emergency care;
  • Purchasing more protective equipment for doctors, nurses and personal support workers;
  • More ventilators; and
  • Additional staff to provide 24/7 support, infection control and cleaning supplies for long-term care facilities.

State of emergency to last through March 31, 2020

The state of emergency will last through March 31, 2020. It could be extended by cabinet if required.

Decision made on advice of Chief Medical Officer of Health

Premier Ford said the decision was made on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health following cabinet discussions late last night and early this morning.

Saying that COVID-19 constitutes a “danger of major proportions,” he said the province will give public health officials “full support and every power possible” to fight the virus and do what is needed to slow the virus to avoid overwhelming healthcare system.

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