These are the new gathering limits under Ontario's emergency brake shutdown

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3

Ontario Premier Doug Ford watches a health-care worker prepare a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a University Health Network vaccine clinic in Toronto on January 7.

Ontario's science advisers say stay-at-home orders will control the third wave of COVID-19, which is being driven by rising rates of the more deadly variants of concern.

Some essential workers fear the latest "shutdown" Premier Doug Ford is imposing on Ontario will do little to protect them from COVID-19. "It's spreading far more quickly than it was before and we can not vaccinate quickly enough to break this third wave, this is the challenge of the new variants".

I know that, over a year into this pandemic, news of a shutdown is frustrating to hear.

"Effective, Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 a.m. [4:01 a.m. GMT], Ontario will pull the emergency brake for the entire province", Ford told reporters.

At this time, schools will remain open.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement, says schools will remain open after the Easter weekend. The province also went step further and allowed for indoor dining in some areas, which was considered a fairly risky venture given how the COVID-19 variants of concern are more transmissible indoors.

Earlier on Thursday, modeling released by an expert panel advising government predicted new COVID-19 cases would double unless a stay at home order was imposed.

Two-thirds of the province's public health units are now under what the government calls lockdown (grey zone) or control (red zone) restrictions.

The province also hit a new high Wednesday for the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. This includes prohibiting all indoor organized public gatherings and limiting outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gathering with members of the same household.

A government spokesperson said the measures are somewhat different from those in the grey "lockdown" tier of Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions system. Essential retail stores will be able to operate at 50% capacity, big box stores and other retailers at 25%.

No. All personal care services are prohibited during the shutdown.

Thursday's lockdown will require the closure of hair salons, gyms, and indoor dining in regions not now under such restrictions.

The last stay-at-home order and shutdown in the province lifted in mid-February.

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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