Citing "a danger of major proportions" Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in Ontario this morning, mandating that all bars and restaurants close as the province tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"This morning I have declared a state of emergency in the province of Ontario," Ford told reporters this morning. "We are facing an unprecedented time in our history."
The move takes effect immediately and lasts until March 31.
It includes the prohibition of organized public events of over 50 people. That includes parades, events and services in places of worship.
Also, the following establishments are closed effective immediately:
- indoor recreational programs
- all public libraries
- all public schools
- all licenced childcare centres
- all licenced bars and restaurants, other than takeout and delivery
- dance studios
- cinemas, movies and concert venues
Ford said the move does not mean a "provincial shutdown" of all businesses and services.
Essential services including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and public transit will continue.
8 a.m. original story:
Premier Doug Ford has called a press conference for 8 a.m. as organizations and business across the province continue to step up measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Ford will be joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Members of the media are being encouraged to participate via teleconference amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As of this morning, Canada has recorded 441 cases of COVID-19, with 9 recoveries and four deaths. Ontario's confirmed case count stands at 177.