COVID-19 Updates Jan. 12
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a list of new restrictions on Tuesday. The briefing was in response to increasingly high rates of COVID-19 cases and declared a second provincial emergency since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
The provincewide lockdown was initiated on Dec. 26, initiating the closure of non-essential businesses and reducing social gathering numbers.
As of Jan. 12, the province reported 2,903 COVID-19 cases and 41 more deaths, bringing the official death toll in Ontario to 5,053.
According to Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, the jump in daily cases are above seven per cent and nearly 40 per cent of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks.
The updated set of restrictions will be placed into effect on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m.
The official province of Ontario news release about the revised guidelines stated that “a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely. The list also introduced additional measures, including:
– Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
– Individuals are required to wear a mask or face-covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
– All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
– Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
The updated provincial rules are expected to stay in effect until at least Feb. 11.
Big-box stores are not facing any new restrictions, aside from an “inspection blitz” cited by Ford on Tuesday in reference to stores that are not following public health guidelines.
As of Jan. 6, Wilfrid Laurier University confirmed one new COVID-19 case in a student on the Waterloo campus.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the federal government reached an agreement to purchase an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
More doses are needed in Waterloo region, with officials requesting additional doses to expand beyond the people who are scheduled to receive it.
Currently, Ontario is in the first phase, which gives vaccine priority to “healthcare workers, essential caregivers, long-term care and retirement home residents, First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults,” according to CBC News.