Stricter COVID-19 measures, police given authority to stop vehicles, people

Police have authority to ticket anyone who leaves their residence for non-essential purposes.

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COVID-19

Ford announced harsher restrictions Friday in an effort to curb the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

Residents are only permitted to leave their homes to visit grocery stores and pharmacies, for medical appointments, to exercise outdoors and to work if they can’t do so remotely.  

Police will now have the authority to stop anyone outside and inquire as to why they are not at their residence.

Pedestrians and drivers can be issued a ticket of $750 – which is the minimum for non-compliance under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

“Police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to first provide the purpose for not being at home and provide their home address,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.

Jones said all Ontarians must carry identification that can be shown on request.

During Friday’s news conference the province announced restrictions for inter-provincial travel.

Checkpoints will be set up beginning Apr. 19 at the borders of Manitoba and Quebec to limit non essential travel in and out of the province.

Starting 12:01 a.m. Saturday no outdoor gatherings will be permitted except with members of the same household.

Retail will be limited to a 25 per cent capacity and outdoor amenities including tennis courts and playgrounds will be closed. All non-essential construction is forbidden.

Effective Monday at 12:01 a.m. religious services, weddings and funerals will be limited to 10 people both indoors and outside.

COVID-19 cases could reach 10,000 per day

The current stay-at-home orders will be extended by two weeks until May 20.

The announcement comes after new modelling was released showing that the number of new COVID-19 cases could reach 10,000 per day in Ontario by the end of May.

The data also showed that there could be up to 2,000 patients in ICU by next month.

For the past few weeks several of Ontario’s top doctors have warned that the vaccine alone will not stop the spread of COVID-19 with many medical experts imploring Ford to enact stricter measures.

The province said it would boost vaccines in hot spots but did not clarify when the boost will occur.

“We’re losing the battle between the variants and vaccines,” Ford said.

Friday saw the highest number of case counts in a single day at 4,812.

For a full list of the new restrictions visit Ontario’s website.