Ontario imposing stay-at-home order, closing non-essential retail: sources

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet has approved a provincewide stay-at-home order and will close non-essential retail stores for all but curbside pickup, multiple sources told CBC News Tuesday night. 

The move comes in the wake of criticism that restrictions announced last week — what the government called “emergency brake” measures — are insufficient to slow the spread of Ontario’s third wave of COVID-19. 

Sources familiar with cabinet’s decision said the stay-at-home order would take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday and last up to four weeks.

The sources said only grocery stores and pharmacies would be permitted to stay open for customers to shop indoors. They said big box retail stores would be restricted to selling only grocery and pharmacy items for in-person shopping.

Garden centres would also be permitted to stay open, according to the sources.

Ford had hinted Tuesday afternoon that he would announce further restrictions on Wednesday.  

Ontario has reported on average more than 2,800 new cases of COVID-19 daily over the past week. There are 510 people with COVID-19 being treated in ICUs, which is the highest at any point in the pandemic. During the second wave, ICU admissions peaked at 420.

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