So the five-person gathering limit stays in place for now.
It’s official. It was announced on Tuesday, June 2 that Ontario’s state of emergency has been extended until the end of June. If needed, that would allow the province to continue enforcing emergency orders like the ban on gatherings of more than five people, as well as the closures of non-essential businesses.
Premier Doug Ford had teased the pushing back of the emergency status on Monday, stressing the need for another four weeks to help Ontario get over “the hump.”
On Tuesday, that was confirmed by the province.
Ford confirmed to reporters the state of emergency has been stretched until June 30, but stressed this is not a backwards step.
“This week, our government extended Ontario’s state of emergency,” the premier said.
“Let me be clear: This does not mean that our reopening is on hold. We are working around the clock to move ahead with our economic reopening.”
Ford reiterated that this move has been made with a view to preventing a second wave of COVID-19 in the province.
“We have to remain vigilant,” he noted.
The premier also emphasized that despite the extension, Ontario will look to proceed with a regional reopening of the economy.
It’s worth noting that the emergency status is not the same thing as the province’s list of emergency orders currently in force.
That list currently includes the closures of outdoor playgrounds and swimming pools and the five-person limit on gatherings. It was set to expire one week after the previous state of emergency on June 9.
Now that it has officially been extended, those emergency orders can also be stretched into the future.
There was no confirmation on Tuesday of if or when that would happen.
On Monday, Independent MPP Randy Hillier had told the Toronto Star that he doesn’t believe the state of emergency is warranted.
Meanwhile, Ford stressed that Ontario is still working towards stage two of its reopening.
Opening the province back up doesn’t come without its pitfalls.
Just last week, as Winners and Homesense stores across the province unlocked their doors again, Ontario saw more of the long lines and queues that have been a recurring feature of the last couple of months.
Ford noted he hopes to announce soon more businesses and attractions that will be able to open back up in the coming weeks.