COVID-19: Ontario has declared a state of emergency. What does that mean?

Most public spaces and events that promote gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.

The move means that recreation centres, private schools, public libraries, bars, restaurants, movie theatres, concert venues and places of worship will close until March 30, at least. Malls and office buildings, for now, will remain open.

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to receive deliveries 24/7, regardless of municipal noise regulations.
  • Temporary suspension of requirement to renew driver’s licences, licence plate stickers and health cards. Ontarians can use expired documents for the time being.

 $300-million relief fund

A $300 million “first stage” relief package will go to funding efforts to fight COVID-19, including 75 more critical care beds, 500 more acute care beds, 75 more COVID-19 response centres and a host of new personal protective equipment.

Ontario is also investing up to $304 million to enhance the province’s response to COVID-19 by providing the following:

  • $100 million for increased capacity in hospitals to assist with the effective treatment of COVID-19 patients both in critical care and medicine beds.
  • $50 million for more testing and screening through public health, including additional funding to support extraordinary costs incurred to monitor, detect and contain COVID-19 in the province. This includes contact tracing, increased laboratory testing capacity and home testing.
  • $50 million to further protect frontline workers, first responders and patients by increasing the supply of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies and equipment to protect them.
  • $25 million to support frontline workers working in COVID-19 assessment centres, including the creation of a new fund to provide respite care, child care services and other supports as they are needed.
  • $50 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing to support infection control and additional supplies.
  • $20 million for residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth to support additional staffing, respite for caregivers impacted by school closures, personal protective equipment and supplies and transportation costs to minimize client exposure and to support social distancing, as well as additional cleaning costs.
  • $5 million to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening procedures.
  • $4 million for Indigenous communities to support transportation costs for health care professionals and the distribution of critical supplies.