Premier Doug Ford says the province will be closing "many more" sectors of the economy in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including the industrial construction industry.
The premier made the announcement Friday afternoon during his daily COVID-19 briefing and said this move was "no easy task" but "lives are on the line."
The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4 at 11:59 pm. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves.
"We are facing a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19 and we must do everything in our power to keep everyone safe and healthy and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed," said Premier Ford.
"Everyone must do their part to stop the spread and flatten the curve. If you are not an essential business, you need to close your doors, work from home if possible and play a role to help contain this outbreak. This is a matter of life and death."
Under the new orders, only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads, and bridges.
Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 am― 9 pm Monday to Friday and 8:30 am— 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.
New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue.
Additionally, the government said it's implementing additional measures to protect frontline workers in essential businesses by adding more than 60 special consultants and officers and doubling the number of phone agents at its Health and Safety Call Centre to 50 to make it easier for workers to report safety concerns.
Workers worried their workplaces are unsafe can phone 1-877-202-0008 to speak with an agent.