Ontario Declares Third Provincial Emergency

The Ontario government has declared a third province-wide emergency to take action against the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants. Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier, says the situation is at a critical stage “and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants. By imposing these strict new measures, we will keep people safe while allowing our vaccination program to reach more people.” The lockdown will affect home improvement retailers as only essential retailers that sell food, pharmaceutical items, and personal care items will be able to stay open to the public. Non-essential retailers will only be able to operate for curbside pickup and delivery, via appointment between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Big box stores will have to restrict in-person sales to the products mentioned above. Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public can operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The state of emergency is in effect for four weeks.