Less than a week after a third provincial shutdown was imposed, a state of emergency and another stay-at-home order have been issued.
The stay-at-home order is effective Thursday, April 8 and in place for at least four weeks.
The state of emergency, the third declared since the pandemic began in March 2020, is effective immediately.
Schools will remain open for in-person learning in public health regions where it's permitted and with strict safety measures. Non-essential retail stores will only be open for curbside pickup. For the first time in the pandemic, big box stores will be limited to only selling essential items.
For the stay-at-home order people are required to only go out for essential purposes such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, exercise or for work that cannot be done remotely.
These changes are in addition to the emergency brake measures that took effect April 3 in all 34 health units across the province.
The province has reported more than 3,000 new COVID cases per day since Sunday, with 3,215 new cases today.
New measures include:
- Limiting non-essential retails to only operate for curbside pickup and delivery between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Deliver of the goods to people is allowed between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Access to shopping malls is limited to specific purposes such as accessing curbside pickup and delivery, via appointment, with one designated location inside the mall and designated locations outside the mall
- Big box stores will only be able to sell groceries, household cleaning supplies, pharmacy items and pet care supplies
- In-person retail by appointment will be allowed between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and subject to 25 per cent capacity at: safety supply stores; businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies; rental and leasing services; optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public; businesses that sell vehicles, boats and other watercraft; vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service can open to buy a cellphone or for repairs and technical support.
- Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries and indoor greenhouses can operate with the restricted hours and 25 per cent capacity.
The shutdown measures that were already in place include:
- Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited. The capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings is a maximum of five people, except for gatherings with members of the same household or gatherings with one household and one person from another household who lives alone.
- Personal care services are prohibited.
- Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited. Restaurants are allowed to operate by take-out, drive-through and delivery.
- Gyms are closed.
- Capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 15 per cent capacity per room indoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
In January, the second state of emergency was declared and a stay-at-home order was issued. Those measures were lifted in mid-February.
Health unit regions transitioned back to the COVID-19 Response Framework, with five colour-coded levels of varying restrictions.
When the stay-at-home order lifted, the Porcupine Health Unit moved to the orange - restrict level, then spent a couple weeks at the yellow - protect level before the stricter measures were imposed provincewide.
To date, there have been 384 confirmed cases in the Porcupine Health Unit region. There are 30 known active cases.