By Ann Marie Elpa Staff Reporter at Toronto STAR
Boxing day shopping is a lot different this year for Ontario residents after the province went into a pandemic lockdown at 12:01 a.m.
While restrictions were already in effect in areas such as Toronto, Peel and York Region, the rest of southern Ontario is now in lockdown until Jan. 23. Restrictions for northern Ontario will be in effect until Jan. 9.
These restrictions, aiming to curb an increase in COVID cases, come after as the province reported more than 2,100 cases on both Friday and Saturday with 81 new deaths. The number of patients in intensive care also surpassed 300 people.
Businesses deemed essential, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, will be allowed to stay open with capacity restrictions. But indoor businesses such as gyms, movie theatres and storefronts must close.
Here’s what’s permitted during lockdown:
Animal care: Veterinary clinics will be open for services “necessary for the immediate health and welfare” only of an animal, or for services with curbside pick-up and drop-off of animals. Boarding kennels and other care facilities can remain open. There is no specific information provided about animal grooming.
Childcare: All childcare will stay open, including those located in schools, but cannot accept school-aged children while in-person classes are on break. Eligible workers can apply for emergency chilcare. Before and after school programs will be suspended from January 4 to 8 and will resume January 11. All day camps will be closed.
Driving instruction: No in-car instruction will be allowed except for commercial vehicle instruction.
Film & television: Can continue production without a studio audience and with sets that allow for physical distancing.
Gaming establishments, cinemas and performing arts centres: Casinos, bingo halls and all other gaming establishments, as well as cinemas and performing arts centres, must close to the public. Rehearsals or performing a broadcast event will be permitted. Museums must close. Zoos will be closed to the public. Bathhouses and sex clubs are closed, as are strip clubs (apart from takeout food and alcohol service). Horse races will not be allowed.
Gatherings: No private, indoor gatherings of people from outside their household is allowed. If living alone, joining one other household is permitted. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Weddings, funerals and religious services can continue in person if physical distancing can be maintained with up to 10 people indoors or outdoors.
Gyms: All gyms must close.
Hotels and motels: Can continue to operate. Facilities like pools remaining closed.
Libraries: Branches can remain open for curbside pick-up and drop-off of materials.
Personal services: All services like nail and hair salons will be closed for all treatments. Household services, including cleaning, nannies and others, will be allowed.
Real estate: Open houses will not be allowed. Properties can be shown by appointment only.
Restaurants and bars: All indoor and outdoor dining and drinking — including patios — are prohibited. Restaurants and bars can provide takeout, drive-through and delivery, including alcohol.
Retail stores: Malls will be closed for in-person shopping. Non-essential businesses can provide curbside pick-up or delivery only. Stores within malls can provide curbside pickup at a designated location outside of the mall interior. There will be exceptions for grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses (including those in malls), which will remain open for in-person shopping, but must maintain 50 per cent capacity for grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies and 25 per cent for liquor stores and big box retailers. Cannabis stores can continue operating with curbside pick-up. Hardware, pet and other stores are only permitted to do curbside pick-up.
Schools: Elementary and secondary students will return to in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 11 in Ontario’s northern region. In Southern Ontario, high school students will return to class on Monday, Jan. 25. The restrictions do not apply to First Nations and federally-operated schools. Post-secondary schools will be online only with exceptions for some programs and up to 10 people for exams.
Short-term rentals (Airbnb): Only allowed for bookings for those in need of housing. Bookings made before the new restrictions came into effect will be honoured.
Sports and recreation: Indoor and outdoor facilities are closed except for high performance and professional athletes. Community centres can remain open for activities like childcare. Outdoor facilities like ice rinks can remain open but team sports are not allowed. Physical distancing of two metres must be maintained.
Health units in the provincial government’s definition of Southern Ontario are Brant County, Chatham-Kent, Hamilton, Durham Region, Eastern Ontario, Grey Bruce, Haldimand-Norfolk, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge, Halton Region, Hastings Prince Edward, Huron Perth, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington.
Also, Lambton, Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Niagara Region, Ottawa, Peel, Peterborough, Region of Waterloo, Renfrew County and District, Simcoe-Muskoka, Southwestern, Toronto, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Windsor-Essex County and York Region.
During the pandemic time, Lumo-X will stand with Canadian growers and support with Canada-wide shipping and customer service in usual work hours.