Coronavirus: State of emergency, reduced retail hours under consideration by Ontario cabinet

Hours before the Ontario government is set to make an announcement to address the soaring number of coronavirus cases, Global News has learned the cabinet is being urged to declare a state of emergency.

Multiple sources familiar with the deliberations and not authorized to speak publicly told Global News the declaration is one of several initiatives being debated by the Ontario cabinet.

As of Monday night, cabinet deliberations were still underway and a final list of restrictions wasn’t settled upon. The sources noted there was a chance there could be further changes to what was tentatively discussed and agreed on.

Read more:
Ontario surpasses 5,000 total COVID-19-related deaths, adds 3,338 new coronavirus cases

However, Global News learned rules for retail operators allowed to remain open for business during the current shutdown will likely be adjusted and, if approved, shopping hours would be shortened.

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There are new restrictions set to be applied to the province’s construction industry. Some projects are set to be halted, but projects deemed to be critical for infrastructure and essential for operations will be allowed to be continued.

Read more:
Toronto mayor says Ontario should impose full lockdown to protect health-care system

The sources also said Ontario officials are investigating the requirement of wearing masks in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

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The developments come after speculation surrounding a curfew similar to the new one imposed by the Government of Quebec. Government sources told Global News Ontario officials rejected that idea.

Read more:
Ontario government not currently considering imposing curfew, sources say

Ontario’s death toll surpassed 5,000 on Monday after 29 more deaths were attributed to the novel coronavirus on Monday — along with 3,338 new cases and 80 additional COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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