The state of emergency order in Ontario is being extended again, this time until July 15, Premier Doug Ford confirmed Wednesday.
Premier Ford made the announcement during his daily COVID briefing at Queen's Park and said the extension provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.
During his announcement, Premier Ford said this should be the last extension of the measure first put in place on March 17.
"As we gradually and safely reopen our economy, our frontline care providers can continue to rely on these emergency orders to better protect our seniors and most vulnerable citizens and provide the flexibility to put resources where they're needed most," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are hopeful that another extension of the Declaration of Emergency will not be needed as we see improvements in the public health trends and as people and businesses continue to act responsibly and adapt to the new environment."
According to the province, the Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make, and as needed amend, emergency orders that protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.
Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province's enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy.
The province says these measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19 and the extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.
The government says it will continue to review state of emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.
The extension comes after Toronto Public Health and the Peel Region were granted permission to enter Stage 2 of its reopening this Wednesday. Windsor-Essex remains the only region in the province in Stage 1.
This news comes as the province reported only 163 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, down from more than 200 on Tuesday.