Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

All Outdoor Recreational Amenities across Province Now Closed

“Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted March 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The City of St. Catharines wasted little time earlier this March closing down its playgrounds due to the coronavirus outbreak. Yellow tape is tied around the playground equipment.

TORONTO — In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings.

In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus,” said Premier Ford.

“Based on the best medical advice available,” added the Premier,  “we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings.”

This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities.

Warning signs posted at playground areas in St. Catharines/Niagara.

Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed would remain open for walk-through access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed.

“We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians’ health and wellbeing.”

“The health and well-being of Ontarians is a top priority of our government as we navigate through the COVID-19 health crisis. I know our municipal partners are already taking action locally to protect their residents,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This order makes the rules around closing shared outdoor recreational amenities consistent across the province.”

To ensure the province is able to continue its extensive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will also extend the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency and subsequent emergency orders, regulations and amendments issued under s.7.0.1 and 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The following declaration and orders (click on them for further details) have been extended and will be in effect until April 13, 2020:

Declaration of a provincial emergency

Closure of public places and establishments with exemption for emergency child care for health care and frontline essential service workers

Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people

Enforcement of emergency orders

Work deployment for health service providers

Work deployment for long-term care homes

Electronic service of documents

Electricity pricing

Drinking water and sewage

Closure of non-essential workplaces

Traffic management

Prohibiting unconscionable pricing for necessary goods

Streamlining requirements for long-term care homes

Quick Facts

It may be a while before we are told it is safe to gather on a beach like this one along Lake Erie in Niagara again.

  • Ontarians should stay home except for essential reasons, and to limit the number of these essential trips. Essential reasons include accessing health care services and medication, grocery shopping, walking pets when required and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the above needs. It is strongly recommended that people over 70 years old or who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate and get help with essential errands.
  • Ontarians must strictly practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people and keep at least two metres away from people outside of their household.
  • On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They must not go to work, grocery stores or on walks. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and contact their primary care providers or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) if they experience symptoms.
  • Take everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health : wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.

Additional Resources

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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