Schools allowed to stay open during stay-at-home order

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Sources tell the Canadian Press the order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and last for four weeks. Such businesses could still offer curbside pickup. Big box retail stores would be restricted to selling only grocery and pharmacy items with garden centres still be permitted to stay open as well.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Thunder Bay in 2018.

Teachers who live or work in Toronto and Peel Region's high-risk neighbourhoods will be eligible to be receive the COVID-19 vaccination during the April break, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

He and his team reiterated that new measures are to limit mobility and transmission, which is part two of a tw0-part strategy, the first being to focus on vaccinations.

"To boil it down as simple as possible, folks please stay home unless it is for an essential reason", Ford said in making the announcement.

Media reports: stay at home order looms
Ontario’s stay-at-home order to go into effect Thursday: sources

"It is critical, now more than ever, that people adhere to the orders and follow public health measures". "It was our promise to keep schools open and to keep them safe".

"Going to the malls is not essential", he said, despite current public health measures permitting them to remain open. Of those, 311 are on ventilators because of COVID-related illness.

In modelling data released on March 11, health experts said that in the best-case scenario, there could be 400 COVID-19 patients in the ICU. "We have implemented our framework all the way through".

But the Ford government initially resisted using the blunt tool with Health Minister Christine Elliott telling reporters last week that her government wanted to avoid repeating the "tremendous ill effect" that the stay-at-home order had on the mental health of residents when it was issued in January. The province has averaged more than 2,800 cases a day over the past five days, though Thunder Bay has seen its case count plummet recently, with just 89 cases in the past week.

The moves come as cases of COVID-19 across Ontario continue to soar and intensive care units at hospitals climb to near capacity.

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