Ontario’s Premier says “everything is on the table” when it comes to the possibility of another lockdown as the province navigates through a third wave of the virus.
Doug Ford would not specify what new measures his government is considering, if any, but said he will consult the province’s top doctor before deciding while urging people to not gather for Easter.
“I am extremely concerned about the situation that we’re seeing and the numbers going up… I am concerned with the age group right now with younger people in ICU,” said Ford on Tuesday.
“Everything is on the table. Be prepared. I am saying don’t make plans for Easter. I won’t hesitate to lock things down if I have to. I did it before, I’ll do it again… without people’s health we won’t have an economy.”
On March 19, the Ford government announced that restaurants operating in “Red-Control” and “Orange-Restrict” would be able to open with 50 percent capacity and a maximum of 50 and 100 people indoors.
Outdoor patios at bars and restaurants for public health units in “Grey-Lockdown,” such as Peel and Toronto, have since been allowed to operate with members of the same household.
The province has since planned to further relax restrictions under “Grey-Lockdown” and allow for barbers and nail salons to reopen under capacity on April 12.
The planned easing of restrictions came hours after Ontario’s hospitals and science advisors warned that intensive care units in the province’s hospitals were facing a capacity crunch.
COVID-19 infection rates have been rising for weeks, fueled by the spread of more transmissible variants of the virus.
The president of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) said 46 patients were admitted to intensive care on Monday – the highest one-day number of admissions in the second and third waves.
Health Minister Christine Elliott defended the government’s approach saying this “isn’t business as usual” when referring to the recently announced relaxing of restrictions.
“We do have the framework in place. We are following the measures and we do have the emergency brake if we need to use it,” Elliott said.
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