On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, Ontario Premier Ford announced that a state of emergency is being declared in Ontario and a province-wide stay-at-home order will go into effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 8th. The order will remain in effect for at least four weeks until May 6, 2021.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise at alarming rates in Ontario, which officials say is due to the more deadly and contagious variants of COVID-19 that are rapidly spreading. Hospitals in Ontario are reaching capacity and ICU admissions have surpassed the previous worst-case scenario predictions, according to Ford.

“Things are extremely, extremely serious right now and I am extremely concerned,” Premier Ford said in a news conference. “We need to move quickly and decisively.”

The new restrictions require non-essential stores and malls to offer curbside pickup and delivery only. Box stores and discount stores will only be permitted to sell essential items such as groceries, medicine, and gardening supplies.

Ford urges the public to stay home unless they must leave for essential reasons.

The new measures announced today are in addition to the emergency brake/shutdown measures announced last week. The province’s colour-coded framework for COVID-19 is officially paused.

The stay at home order will buy the province time to get more vaccinations to more people. Premier Ford predicts that 40 percent of adults in Ontario will be vaccinated by the end of the 4-week order.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne will continue to be closed to the public for non-essential services until May 6, 2021. Essential services and programs will still be available.

More information on the shutdown requirements and stay at home order can be found on Ontario’s website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions