Ontario yanks ’emergency brake,’ bringing back shutdown; construction stays open
By David KennedyHealth & Safety
All of Ontario will return to a lockdown-like state April 3 as the province responds to rising COVID-19 case counts and the threat of new virus variants.
“We’re facing a very, very serious situation,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press conference April 1. “As I’ve said many times, we will do whatever it takes to protect the people of Ontario.”
Ford pointed to the rapid advance of variants as particularly worrisome as modelling released earlier in the day showed COVID-19 cases in the province could top 6,000 per day by mid-April.
All 34 health units across Ontario will enter what the government has billed an “emergency brake shutdown” over the weekend, staying there for no less than 28 days. The change will force the province-wide closure of personal care services, indoor and outdoor dining and institute capacity limits on a range of businesses. Areas already in lockdown, such as Toronto and Peel, will see few changes.
All construction, supporting services, including demolition and land surveying, however, will remain open. While previous iterations of the province’s shutdown frameworks barred certain construction segments from operating, the “emergency brake” includes no such restrictions.