Those who were hoping that the lockdown would be ending soon got some bad news on Wednesday. The provincial government announced via a press release that it is now extending Ontario's emergency orders until May 19. The move, which will keep establishments and outdoor amenities closed, comes after Premier Doug Ford opened up a small number of businesses this week.
Last month, Ford had previously extended the emergency orders from April 23 to May 6. Now, Ontarians are in for another two weeks of lockdown.
“On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is also extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020,” reads a statement from the government.
Under these emergency orders, the government states that all public events, outdoor recreational amenities, and non-essential businesses will remain closed.
On top of this, officers will also still be enforcing these orders and ensuring that people are following social distancing bylaws.
The Ontario government also announced that it would be extending its emergency electricity rate relief until May 31.
Customers who normally would be forced to pay time-of-use electricity rates will instead be billed at the lowest price.
"During this extraordinary period, many people are struggling to pay the bills as they do the right thing by staying at home, as well as our farmers and those whose businesses have closed or suffered reduced customer traffic," said Premier Doug Ford.
"Although we are making progress in our fight against this COVID-19 outbreak, we are not out of the woods yet. The extension of this electricity rate relief will leave more money in people's pockets until businesses can start to reopen and people can get back to work,” he added.
On May 4, a small number of businesses opened their doors again, giving residents hope that the lockdown may slowly be coming to an end.
Landscaping companies, garden centres, car washes and a few other businesses were able to resume operations as long as they followed proper safety protocol.
Ford also gave residents hope that they would be able to go outside by the Victoria Day weekend.
However, these emergency orders will be in place until the Tuesday after the holiday.