Provincewide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 effective Dec 26

Published on December 21, 2020


Based on the latest modelling data, cases are expected to continue to grow, with multiple models predicting rates of at least 1,500 cases per day for several weeks under current restrictions. Daily mortality is also increasing.

Continuing case growth will increase outbreaks in long-term care homes and other congregate settings.

Under all modeling scenarios, ICU occupancy will be above 300 beds within 10 days. Worst case scenarios show occupancy above 1,500 beds by mid-January.

That’s why the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. These restrictions will require Ontarians to stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overcrowded.

This shutdown will limit travel across the province and prevent the risk of spread within the province to help prevent the potential spread of infection and protect health care capacity throughout Ontario.

Based on experience in other jurisdictions, “hard lockdowns” of 4–6 weeks can reduce case numbers in Ontario to less than 1,000 per day and possibly much lower with increased testing and support.

The Provincewide Shutdown would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to those used in other jurisdictions to preserve health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations and those who care for them, and save lives.

The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

The impacts of these time-limited continue to be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to life any restrictions of if they need to be extended.

Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.

While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021.

For schools in York Public Health Unit region, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.

During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open. From January 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care for health care and frontline workers will be provided.

For more information, click here