Ontario to Implement Province-Wide Lockdown Starting Boxing Day, Premier Says

December 21, 2020 Updated: December 21, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all regions in the province will enter into full lockdown effective Boxing Day, including the closure of schools.

Ford made the announcement Monday at Queens Park. He was also joined by health minister Christine Elliott, education minister Stephen Lecce, and chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams.

Southern Ontario will enter into a 28-day lockdown while the north would be locked down for two weeks come Dec. 26, at 12.01 a.m., said the Ford government.

The number of daily cases continue to rise putting our hospitals and long-term care homes at risk,” Ford said. 

The grey-lockdown measures mean retailers deemed non-essential will be closed, but those considered essential, including supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies will be allowed to remain open, among other restrictions. 

Restaurants and bars are prohibited from offering indoor and outdoor service. Only take-out, drive thru, and delivery are allowed.

Also, no indoor organized public events or social gatherings are to be held except with members of the same household, according to the provincial lockdown restrictions, and outdoor activities are limited to 10 people.

In-person shopping in most retail settings will be prohibited but curbside pickup and delivery will be allowed. As for big box retailers, the provincial government said the in-store shopping is to be limited to 25 percent capacity.

In addition, elementary school students will not return to classes after the winter break on Jan. 4. This means children will have to attend online lessons from their teachers until Jan. 11, after which they can return to in-class lessons.

As for high school students in northern Ontario, they are to engage in virtual learning but can return to in-class lessons on Jan. 11. But for the southern province, high school students would study remotely until Jan. 25 before they return back to in-person classes.