Mark Slapinski, with files from Patricia D’Cunha
TORONTO – The emergency stay at home order passed by the Ford government went into effect at 12:01 a.m today.
The directive requires residents to stay home except for essential outings, such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries, or outdoor exercise.
The province has said there’s no set definition for what is “essential” because everyone has their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.
There’s no limit on how many times people can leave their homes per day, or on how long they can be out.
The Ontario government has released the legal parametres of its newly issued stay-at-home order, detailing the reasons why residents may leave their home.
You can read the full stay-at-home order below:
Premier Doug Ford has urged people to use their “best judgment” in deciding whether to go out.
The province also says police and bylaw officers will have the power to enforce the stay-at-home order and issue tickets to rule-breakers.
On Wednesday night, the province released more details on enforcement that included three measures:
Requirement to identify
A police or bylaw officer “who has reasonable and probable grounds” to believe that a person is breaking the stay-at-home order can “may require the individual to provide the officer with the individual’s correct name, date of birth and address.” The person “shall promptly comply” and provide their correct details.
Officers can order the temporary closure of a premises if they believe that an “organized public event or other gathering is occurring” there and the number of people attending exceeds the number permitted under the Reopening Ontario Act. Currently, indoor gatherings are not permitted except with those within your household.
Everyone present must comply by “promptly vacating the premises after being informed of the order” and no one should reenter without authorization. This does not apply to anyone living on the premises.
Order to cease attendance or disperse:
Officers can order someone who is attending an organized public event that is prohibited under the Reopening Ontario Act to “cease attending” and order those gathering to disperse and they must promptly comply.
But critics say the measure, which was announced on Tuesday as the province enacted a second state of emergency, is vague, particularly given law enforcement officers’ ability to fine those not in compliance.
The Ford government has expressed concerns that the hospital system will be overloaded if action is not taken.