Effective Thursday, January 14, at 12:01 am, the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.
Effectively immediately, the province of Ontario has declared a second state of emergency due to risky levels of rising cases of COVID-19.
All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7:00 am. and close no later than 8:00 pm. Wearing a mask is also now recommended outdoors when physical distancing is hard.
The province announced Tuesday schools in the Windsor-Essex, Peel Region, Toronto, York and Hamilton public health units will not return to in-person instruction until February 10. Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to announce the government's new public-health measures at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
As well, in new modelling data released Tuesday, health officials now say that without "significant reductions in contacts", Ontario's health system will be overwhelmed and mortality related to COVID-19 will exceed the first wave totals, even with their vaccination efforts in place.
That data, released on December 21, showed that if COVID-19 case rates continued to grow between one to three per cent, the province would have 3,000 to 5,000 daily cases by the end of January.
On Jan. 3, the federal Liberal government said it was weighing whether to bar people who have travelled overseas from a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 to Canadians who have to quarantine due to COVID-19.
They show that under current restrictions, daily deaths from the virus will double from 50 to 100 between now and the end of February.
Brown says half of hospitals have either no free intensive care unit beds, or just one or two free.
Brown said health-care providers will face hard choices in the weeks ahead.
"We will have to confront choices that no doctor ever wants to make, no family ever wants to hear", Dr. "They really worked with us to get all of this done ahead of schedule".
Projections made public in late December showed that Ontario's ability to control the spread of COVID-19 was "precarious", but tough lockdowns lasting a month or more could cut the number of daily cases significantly.
The provincial government pledged last week to give COVID-19 vaccines by January 21 to all long-term care residents, workers and caregivers in hot-spot regions.
To support this, Ontario's COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool, will be updated to reflect the new screening criteria.
Quebec's new curfew is perhaps one of the most severe steps taken by a province to curb its rising caseload.