Premier Doug Ford says an announcement is coming on Tuesday regarding new lockdown measures for Ontario but a province-wide curfew will not be happening.
Ontario’s associate medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, confirmed on Monday that an overnight curfew is not among the many health and safety measures being considered at this time.
“We have looked, certainly, at the measures put in place in other jurisdictions, other countries, and curfews have been put in place with multiple other measures,” Yaffe said.
“It’s hard to figure out what part of that effect was from the curfew versus not and all the potential negative implications from a curfew – the enforcement requirements, the potential stigmatization of neighbourhoods.”
“It was a serious consideration, but at this point, I understand it’s not going forward,” she added.
This weekend, Quebec became the first province to enforce a curfew, which led to over 200 tickets issued by police handed to people found not complying with the health and safety measures.
As for here in Ontario, the Premier said his government is ready to do what is best for the safety of its residents.
“We worked all weekend, we will be going to cabinet with recommendations,” says Ford.
The Premier is also warning of “turbulent waters” over the next several months ahead of new COVID-19 modelling data scheduled that also set to be released on Tuesday.
FYI I'll present the latest Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table modelling at 11:30 am tomorrow. You can find the slides on the Science Table website at the start of the presentation.https://t.co/oOvVHkUTOm
— Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown (@SteiniBrown) January 11, 2021
On Friday, Ford offered an ominous hint about what to expect, telling Ontarians “you will fall off your chair” when the new data is released.
On Monday, GTHA Mayors and Chairs issued a joint statement, urging the province to “implement any such additional [lockdown] measures as soon as possible to address the concerning rise in cases and impacts on hospital capacity.”
“The Mayors and Chairs are satisfied with the reported decision of the provincial government not to implement a curfew as part of the additional measures,” the statement reads.
“They look forward to working with the province to empower citizens to adopt even greater personal responsibility to defeat the virus working within the anticipated tighter restrictions.”
In a brief video tweet on Sunday, Ford says the healthcare system is on the brink of being overwhelmed and he urged Ontarians to stick together as it will be late spring before mass vaccination is available.
“I’m asking one more time we need to band together, we need to stick together. We’re going to see some real turbulent waters over the next couple of months,” Ford said.
“The healthcare workers, the hospitals, the public health units are all doing everything they can to make sure we vaccinate as many people as possible. Mass vaccination won’t happen till April, May and June but until then, over the next few months we need to practice the social distancing and washing hands.”
Friends, we are going to see some real turbulent waters over the next few months. Our healthcare system is on the brink of being overwhelmed and we must take every precaution to keep our most vulnerable safe.
Other people’s lives are in your hands. pic.twitter.com/HmFLDPY9P6
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) January 10, 2021
The premier noted that while officials are working to vaccinate people quickly, mass inoculation won’t happen until “April, May, and June.”
As of Sunday, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 infections was 3,546.
“They are actually scary numbers, this is crunch time right now,” he said.
While a recent public opinion poll found a majority of Ontarians support continuing and even enhancing current lockdown measures, it was also clear that many draw the line on restrictions that would limit their movement outside of their homes, such as a curfew.
Neither the mayor nor Toronto’s top public health doctor expressed support for a curfew, as has been implemented in Quebec.
Dr. Eileen de Villa said there isn’t much evidence at this time to suggest curfews are effective against the spread of COVID-19 but said wage supports for workers who need to get tested or isolate after a positive result would enable people to make the right choices.
I spoke with Premier Ford over the weekend – extending my support for any additional measures the province can take to slow the spread of COVID-19.
I also stressed, in my own view as Mayor, the urgency to move quickly.
The time to act is now. pic.twitter.com/sXZx7JZkeJ
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 11, 2021
Quebec will be under such lockdown restrictions until Feb. 8 and anyone outside of their home from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. without a valid reason will be subject to infractions.
Ontario surpassed 200,000 total coronavirus cases last week, only six weeks after it topped 100,000 cases back on Nov. 20.