Here’s what you need to know about the Province’s stay-at-home order

 

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, and many hospitals in Southern Ontario reaching capacity, the Province implemented a stay-at-home order--the second one of this pandemic, in the hope of mitigating the spread of the virus.

However, when the order came into effect on January 14, many Ontarians were confused as to what it entailed--some were so concerned they called Peel Regional Police (PRP) to ask what specific things would justify them leaving their houses.

The list of reasons considered valid for residents to leave their home is long, but it can be boiled down to 'things that must be done to ensure the person can survive.'

"People can leave their homes for things that absolutely must be done, shopping for groceries, going to work, things that are critical to their survival," Marc Andrews, deputy chief of PRP, said in an interview with insauga.com.

Additionally, Andrews stressed that residents wouldn't have to worry about police stopping them while they're trying to run errands.

"We as police are not going to be stopping people and ask them what they're doing and where they're going--we don't have the authority to do so under the legislation," he said. "We're also not going to be asking people why they're out of their homes, or to show proof from their employer that they're on their way to or from work--we're anticipating the majority of the public is going to follow this order and take it seriously."

Andrews added that even if they had the authority to stop people, PRP officers likely wouldn't do so, as they are focusing on things that pose a greater risk to public safety.

"We're focusing on responding to behaviour that can further exacerbate the public health crisis we're currently experiencing--this mainly pertains to things such as large crowds and gatherings," Andrews said.

Further, Andrews clarified the rules for outdoor gatherings--currently the limit is five people, but this doesn't mean residents should be getting together outside to socialize.

"The way this should be interpreted is a family of four or five people will be permitted to go out together if they have to--such as a family of two adults and three small children who have to attend a doctor's appointment," he said. "People should only be gathering for specific purposes that are absolutely necessary, they shouldn't be getting together just for the sake of getting together."

Andrews also clarified the rules individuals who live alone. While they are permitted to have contact with another, single household, it should only be done for essential reasons.

"An example would be an elderly person who lives by themselves and doesn't drive, they would need help from a family member or friend to do things like take them to doctor's appointments or drop off groceries for them," he said.

Moreover, according to Andrews, the main focus for PRP when it comes to the latest order is ensuring people are not doing things that can put a further strain on the health care system.

"We're looking at this as a public health crisis, our goal is to support our public health partners in making this work. We're not looking to catch people who are out of their house," he said. "We're looking to stop behaviour that puts the public's health at an increased risk, such as this past weekend, when we broke up a large house party at an Airbnb--events like that are the exception, and they are what we're focusing our resources on stopping and preventing."

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