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Province-wide lock-down begins Dec. 26

With COVID-19 case increases raging, and incidences of a new strain of the disease, a 28-day province-wide shut-down will begin Saturday, Dec. 26 in the southern portions of the province (south of Sudbury) and 14 days in the northern parts.

The lockdown was originally thought to begin on Dec. 24 but was pushed back two days.

Premier Ford made the announcement Monday, noting the areas of highest concern are already in lockdown, and the delay to start lockdown allows communities in less restricted zones to prepare. He reiterated concern about people moving from region to region, from red and lockdown zones to green, yellow and orange zones. He asks people only leave their homes if necessary – especially over the holidays. While vaccinations have begun, Ford stated it would be months before inoculations are complete.

Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson agrees the lockdown is necessary to contain the spread, and is especially important as Hastings Prince Edward Public Health showed the municipality on the weekend had a record number of cases at eight.

“The news received on Saturday about Wellington Legion (two confirmed cases) was most dispiriting,” said Ferguson, noting he was thankful public health acted quickly with communication.”

Ferguson has also been in constant contact with Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith and Public Health noting great concern about remaining in a “yellow” zone while neighbouring communities climbed to higher restriction zones.

The province-wide lockdown will look similar to the shutdown in March, with only essential businesses being allowed to remain open.

Measures include, but are not limited to:
– Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
– Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
– Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
– Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
– Retail generally permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only (in-person retail shopping not permitted) with some exceptions.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

Elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on Jan. 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until Jan. 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.

During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open. From Jan. 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care for health care and frontline workers will be provided.

The Hastings Prince Edward Board of Education is ready to extend its online learning, having received notice from the education ministry to be prepared for this announcement.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Kevin says:

    Four days into a provincial wide lockdown and I’m approached by someone in a grocery store and asked if I’m local and could I direct them to a good bakery. I suggested that they go home and observe the lockdown. I got the snub & the “It’s my right”. Where are these people staying and why are they allowed to stay there? Why does Council ignore this flagrant disregard for Ontario’s Covid rules and the health and safety of it’s constituents? Nearing 3000 cases a day and I say to Doug Ford, “Aside from showboating, what’s the point of your lockdown?”

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