Published Monday, December 21, 2020 5:21AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 21, 2020 4:44PM EST
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Monday afternoon following a series of emergency meetings over the weekend.
The order will require non-essential retail stores in all 34 of Ontario’s public health units to switch to curbside pickup only as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 and a swath of other businesses, including gyms and personal care services, to close entirely. The list of retailers that are deemed essential has also been narrowed and will no longer include hardware stores and pet stores.
Discount and big box retailers that sell groceries will be permitted to continue offering in-person shopping during the lockdown period but they will face even stricter capacity limits than the ones already in effect in lockdown zones – 25 per cent versus 50 per cent.
Meanwhile, schools in southern Ontario will switch to remote-only learning for a period of time after the holiday break. Elementary schools will be closed until Jan. 11 and secondary schools will be closed until Jan. 25. Childcare centres will remain open for the duration of the lockdown period, however they will be prohibited from serving school-aged children for the period of time in which elementary schools are operating virtually (Jan. 4 to Jan. 8).
Chief Medical Officer of Health. Dr. David Williams has also updated his advice to Ontarians and is now urging anyone returning to the province from elsewhere in Canada during the shutdown period to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.