Emergency orders extended as more businesses open

Doug Ford during a press conference (Screen grab via Premier of Ontario YouTube)

The Ontario government has extended emergency orders currently in force to protect the vulnerable as the economy begins to reopen.

All of Ontario is in stage two, but the orders will protect seniors by allowing the redeployment of frontline staff in long-term care facilities. It also allows public health units to redeploy or hire new staff to conduct contact tracing and support case management.

“Our government is getting Ontario back on track and more people back to work, but at the same time taking steps to ensure we don’t undo the tremendous progress we have made together,” said Premier Doug Ford. “By keeping these emergency measures in place, we will continue to support our frontline care providers, protect our most vulnerable, and ensure we can rapidly respond to potential outbreaks or surges.”

On Wednesday, Ontario had 118 new cases, and the percentage of cases considered resolved continued to climb to 31,805 or almost 88 per cent.

The orders, which are extended every two weeks, are now in effect until July 22.

Earlier in the week, there were reports the Ford government was ready to end the province’s state of emergency soon. A declaration of a state of emergency is different from the emergency orders issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The government also intends to introduce the Reopening Ontario Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act. If passed, it will allow the province to continue relaxing rules while extending other orders for up to two years.

Thursday’s announcement means gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.