Toronto: The Ontario Government will order the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 pm, to contain the further spread of Covid-19,
The closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves, said a statement from the premier’s office.
“This was a tough decision, but the right decision, as this is no time for half measures,” said Premier Doug Ford. “But I have said from day one we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19. The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first. The health of you, your children, your grandparents and friends depends on all of us doing our part.”
Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
A 1-800 number and website will be made available on Wednesday for any inquiries, the statement said.
Businesses encouraged to adopt Work-From-Home policies
Ontario government is encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models.
The government also reminded businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.
Essential businesses include, but are not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.
Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.
“Our government applauds the sacrifice and hard work of all Ontario workers and businesses, and will stand by them through this crisis,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We call on workplaces that remain open to be vigilant and to enforce the highest possible standards of cleanliness and caution as we continue the fight together against Covid-19.”
Interactive self-assessment tool available
Ontario has launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool.
The easy-to-use tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted Covid-19. In a matter of seconds, it will help people determine if they are negative or it will provide them with guidance on where to seek care based on their needs, said a release.
The tool guides individuals through a series of questions and, based on their responses, users are provided clear direction on what action to take. These next steps could include: continue to practice social distancing; self-isolate; call a primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario; or in the case of symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency department.
Critically, the enhanced tool provides the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. This data will help inform Ontario’s ongoing response in order to keep individuals and families safe.
Closure of DriveTest Centres
All full-time DriveTest Centres and part-time Travel Point locations will be closed. The closures took effect yesterday (March 23) until further notice.
The decision to close was the result of a mutual agreement between the government and service provider.
Ontarians can rest assured they will not lose their current driver’s licences due to this decision and no driver’s licence applicants will lose test fees as a result of the closures. The current “Fail to Keep Appointment” penalty fee will also be waived.
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