Well, Ontario. Here we are again. Premier Doug Ford has just announced the province is in a state of emergency and will be entering yet another stay-at-home order. It was all made official in his Wednesday afternoon press conference. The new order is set to going into effect at 12:01 AM this Thursday and will last at least four weeks.

In his announcement, Ford outlined the two-part strategy Ontario is taking to fight the virus. The first part applies to the vaccine rollout. The rollout is entering its next phase beginning next week, with mobile clinics heading to specific high-risk areas. In these areas, everyone 18 years and over will be able to get their vaccine. Plus, all education workers in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel. To find out who is eligible and in what neighbourhoods, you can head online here.

The second part of the plan is the stay-at-home order. So how does this differ from the “emergency brake” lockdown we’ve been operating under for the past little while? For starters, big box stores will only be allowed to sell essential items. Non-essential retailers will be forced back into curb-side pickup operations and delivery only.

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As usual, all the essentials will remain open. So you can still hit the grocery store or pharmacy when necessary. Of course, it’s best to limit these visits and stay home as much as possible.

The news comes as Ontario reports increasing case numbers throughout the province. Today alone, there are 3,215 new cases, with a third of those coming from Toronto. In addition to that, the ICUs across the province have been heavily burdened. According to Ford, there have been more admissions than predicted in worst-case-scenario modelling. That, combined with the rise of more dangerous variants, has resulted in the stay-at-home order we’re looking at today.

So you know the drill, people. Load up those at-home workshops, get out your baking supplies, pick up a crafty hobby. We’ve done this before, we can certainly do it again.

Stay healthy, everyone.