Ontario’s stay-at-home order will remain in place until at least Wednesday, June 2nd, Premier Doug Ford announced at a media briefing on Thursday (May 13).
“We need to do everything in our power to protect this summer for all Ontarians — my goal is to have the most normal July and August possible,” Ford said. “Obviously, that won’t mean large sporting events or concerts but, if we manage the next few weeks properly, I believe that we can have things in a very good place this summer.”
“To do so, we need to keep driving cases down and easing the pressure on our hospitals. We need to maintain the stay-at-home order and all public health measures until at least June the 2nd.”
The stay-at-home order was originally set to expire next Thursday (May 20).
Ford said that, with “over 130,000 people” getting a dose of vaccine daily, he expects that Ontario will be able to reopen outdoor recreation on June 2nd. He added that, by then, the province would also provide more details on reopening Ontario “in the days and weeks to follow.”
Ford also announced that, beginning the week of May 31, the province will begin administering the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to youth between the ages of 12 and 17, along with any family members who have not yet received the vaccine. Special dedicated youth and family clinics will also be set up throughout the weeks of June 14 and 21.
The province will work with public health units and school boards to offer both doses of Pfizer vaccine to youth aged 12 to 17 by the end of August, part of what Ford called a “two-dose summer.”
In the interim, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue with virtual learning.
During the media briefing, Ford continually returned to his requests to the federal government to enhance border measures, including reducing incoming international flights, implementing mandatory pre-departure PCR testing for all domestic air travellers entering Ontario, and addressing “the loophole” at Canada’s international land border by implementing a mandatory three-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings.
“In the past two weeks alone, 40 domestic and 24 international flights landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport with confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Ford wrote in a May 12th letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Unfortunately, because there is currently no testing requirement for domestic travellers, passengers who may have been exposed on the domestic flights are immediately able to move around within Canada.”
“During the same two-week period, 172,000 individuals, excluding essential truck drivers, have crossed Canada’s international border. Many of these travellers entered at the land border to bypass mandatory hotel quarantine.”
“Further, we have seen alarming reports that one in three individuals travelling internationally by air have also been able to bypass this requirement. According to recent data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, approximately 88,000 air travellers have been granted exemptions and no reasons were offered for why they were able to avoid the quarantine hotel rules.”