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Premier Ford announces the shutdown of non-essential services

Last Updated Mar 23, 2020 at 2:37 pm EST

Premier Doug Ford has announced the shutdown of all non-essential services across the province in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Ford said details on exactly what businesses will be shut down will be announced by the province on Tuesday.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and takeout restaurants will be allowed to stay open, as well as essential manufacturer and supply chain providers.

“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” Ford said.

“But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.”

The premier said that businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt.

The decision was made based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Enforcement of the order will likely be implemented by bylaw officers and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said policing partners will be a part of that function if and when necessary.

Ford said he did not necessarily want to make the order mandatory and enforceable by police because “we don’t want to run that way … we are in this together.” He added that all resources currently need to be directed towards flattening the curve and containing the spread of the virus.

Ford says he knows Ontarians will remain strong and vigilant through this time.

“We have your back, we will get through this together,” Ford said.

The premier said the number of people gathering in groups will remain at 50, under the advice of medical authorities. But he notes that if you’re going for a walk, or hanging out – go out by yourself, or go with your spouse or partner — just make sure to practice social distancing and stay six feet apart.

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