THUNDER BAY - The Ontario government has extended its state of emergency to June 2, but Premier Doug Ford said an announcement is coming this week on more businesses and services being permitted to reopen.
The Emergency Management and Civil Protection act was extended during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday.
A state of emergency was first declared on March 17 and this is the third extension. Following an initial two-week extension, every other extension requires approval by the legislature.
“We are making steady progress to flatten the curve and get more people back to work safely, including our legislators, but we still have far to go in defeating COVID-19," Ford said. "Extending the declaration of emergency will allow us to continue to take action to protect Ontarians, while carefully and cautiously reopening more parts of our economy."
Under the Emergency and Civil Protections Act, emergency orders will continue to be enforced, including prohibiting gatherings of more than five people and limiting long-term care employees to working in a single facility.
Despite the state of emergency being extended, Ford said during his daily media briefing on Tuesday that there will be an announcement on Thursday regarding the gradual reopening of more businesses and essential services.
“We will share more details on reopening our province,” Ford said. “We will be reopening more seasonal workplaces. We will get people back to work.”
Last month the province released its framework for reopening the economy. The three-stage process includes at least two weeks of declining COVID-19 cases before moving to the next phase.
Limited seasonal businesses such as garden centres and nurseries, hardware stores, and retail businesses with a street entrance providing curbside pickup have been permitted to reopen over the last two weeks.
All businesses must follow workplace guidelines put in place to protect staff and customers.