To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government will order the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow.
Likewise, the province of Quebec has declared a province-wide shutdown of all non-essential businesses for a three-week period. The two announcements came at almost the same time today. Lists of non-essential businesses will be available tomorrow.
“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.”
Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
A 1-800 number and website will be made available on Wednesday for any inquiries.
“Based on the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at our Command Table, Ontario is taking further action to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important.”
“Our top priority must be to protect the health of the people of Ontario,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow the people and the businesses of Ontario to move forward from this unprecedented situation.”
“Our government is listening to our public health officials to ensure we take the right actions to support the health and safety of Ontario job creators and workers,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We are working directly with businesses and workers across all sectors to support them in any way possible through this crisis. We urge the business community to share their innovative ideas and capabilities to fight COVID-19 through our new portal Ontario Together at www.ontario.ca/OntarioTogether.”