Province-wide “emergency-brake” shutdown

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday afternoon, April 1, that a four-week “emergency brake shutdown” was being imposed on the province in an effort to check the spread of COVID-19 variants that are more dangerous than the original strain.

Food stores and pharmacies can stay open at a 50 percent capacity for customers, and other retail stores at 25 percent, unlike previous lockdowns.

Religious services, weddings and funerals can be held but only at 15 percent capacity. Personal service establishments, such as hair salons, will have to close, as must fitness facilities.

The variants were an overriding concern in the decision, Premier Ford said, because they were more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain and caused more severe symptoms.

The number of cases involving hospitalization and even deaths of younger persons was on the rise, he said.

More in the April 7 edition of The Aylmer Express.