All non-essential services in Ontario have been ordered to shut down starting from 11:59 PM Tuesday, 24 March 2020, as per Ontario government orders. The closure has been recommended for a period of two weeks in a precautionary move amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic.
At a press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford reinforced health officials’ recommendations to close all non-essential services.
We must do what we can to slow the spread of Covid-19. Effective tonight at midnight all non-essential workplaces will be ordered to close. For a list of what’s effected, please visit: https://t.co/zUUBjPedgn
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 24, 2020
A detailed list of business that fall in the “essential services” category is expected to be released as early as Wednesday 25 March. Groceries, medical stores and businesses carrying other essential products or services are expected to fall in this list, as these are necessities to the people.
All other businesses which are capable of operating remotely will be given 36 hours to prepare their teams and adapt to the shut-down. “These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important.”, said Deputy Premier of Ontario and Minister of Health Christine Elliot.
Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, said: “Our top priority must be to protect the health of the people of Ontario. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow the people and the businesses of Ontario to move forward from this unprecedented situation.”
Deputy Premier Christine Elliot shared more updates on testing expansions and support for frontline workers via a tweet:
Today, Ontario announced decisive action to contain the spread of #COVID19 as we further expand testing capacity and support our frontline workers and most vulnerable. Here’s today’s update. pic.twitter.com/R4KlZwHRSK
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 23, 2020
Ontario reported its highest number of 78 reported cases, bringing the province’s total number of reported COVID-19 positive cases to 503.