The opposition NDP accused Ford of walking Ontario into the shutdown "with eyes wide open".
Ontario announced a province-wide "emergency brake" shutdown beginning this weekend as Canada's most populous province struggles to cope with a surge in ICU admissions that provincial leaders said they feared was fueled by rapidly spreading coronavirus variants.
The revised modelling comes as the province faces a worsening third wave of the pandemic, driven by the spread of variants of concern, particularly B117, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
The province will release its daily COVID-19 numbers later this morning. As Premier, it falls on me. "Today, I need to make on of those tough decisions".
In order to support working families, child care will remain open during the shutdown.
Guests were required to be from the same household to sit at the same table; however, exceptions were made for people who live alone and those who need to visit with a caregiver. No indoor social gatherings are permitted and outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.
The rules are slightly more lax for religious, wedding and funeral services in Ontario, however, with indoor events permitted to host up to 15 per cent of a room's capacity. Essential and non-essential retail are allowed to remain open with capacity limits.
Schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place, as Education Minister Stephen Lecce indicated earlier Thursday.
Retail stores will see limits on capacity while restaurants will be restricted to takeout, delivery and drive-through service, the premier said.
This includes prohibiting all indoor organized public gatherings and limiting outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gathering with members of the same household. Ski hills, golf courses, and driving ranges will also be closed.
Ontario's beauty sector is feeling frustrated and personally attacked by the Ford government's decision to implement a four-week shutdown starting tomorrow, resulting in the closure of personal care services across the province yet again. Updates on all county services and facilities will continue to be posted to the COVID-19 section of our website at Northumberland.ca/COVID19.
"This is the same failed approach that lead to the variants of concern taking off the way they have and these are the very things that Doug Ford was warned about back in February".
Since the start of the pandemic, the government has added 3,100 new hospital beds. "We're fighting a new enemy".
"We have a ton of people now who are sick, most of those because of the COVID-19 variants in particular". Younger people are ending up in the hospital. "And with these new variants, the risk of ICU admissions is two times higher, the risk of death is one-and-a-half times higher".
He says the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities and that is delaying the impact of the vaccine.
The province confirmed 2,557 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday.
As of yesterday, there are now 421 patients in ICU across the province, a record during the pandemic. Today, 2.557 new cases were reported by Public Health Ontario.