Ontario back into shutdown starting April 3

At a shopping mall in Toronto Ontario people wear masks as they shop on March 17

All regions across the province of Ontario will be entering a sweeping shutdown as of April 3 to curb the spread of unsafe variants of concern, and that means new indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also come into effect.

All indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments is prohibited.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement, says schools will remain open after the Easter weekend.

Essential retail stores are capped at 50 per cent of their maximum capacity and non-essential stores are limited to 25 per cent.

"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern", said Ford in a news release.

The number of COVID patients in Ontario's intensive-care units (ICUs) is expected to reach 800 by the end of April, up from 430 now, already the most during the entire pandemic.

It was during the update where Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hisu-Li Wang recognized the stricter measures will be hard and present hardships for many in the community but mentioned the province-wide shutdown will help control the impact and extent of the third wave.

The government has said that the shutdown will last at least one month, or until May 3.

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Personal care services must also close. "Knowing that non-essential stores need to open kind of makes me anxious".

Ontario joins a growing number of locations, including France and Italy, that are returning to strict limits on social interactions in an effort to slow the latest virus surge.

But while the stay-at-home order may not have been well received, it did seem to stop people from coming into the big-box drugstore where 22-year-old Odessa Ordanza works as a cashier in Mississauga, Ont.

It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with.

Can I host a wedding or hold a funeral? There is no cap on outdoor religious services, but all participants must be able to stay two metres apart from one another.

Residents are being asked not to travel outside of their region or province unless absolutely necessary.

And it comes as COVID cases in Ontario have more than doubled since the first week of March while vaccines have not arrived quickly enough to slow the spread of more contagious and deadlier variants of the virus among the general population.

On Thursday, officials reported more than 2,500 new cases of COVID-19, a almost 14% increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions increasing dramatically.

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