A lot has happened today. I want to share the three key announcements.
The first key announcement is the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in order to contain COVID-19 in Ontario. I fully support the directive. The unprecedented action to limit interactions is the only way to limit the spread of this virus. This closure will come into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. Please see below for businesses that are considered essential. We expect a 1-800 phone number will be set up starting Wednesday for businesses to contact the government regarding their status.
The second key announcement is Andrea Horwath’s call for this Wednesday’s financial statement from Premier Ford to include a plan to send $2,000 Ontario Emergency Income cheques to households experiencing unemployment or lost income during the COVID-19 crisis and for it to be distributed to everyone who needs them by April 1 as we need to help people before rent is due and before the cupboards are empty. It would bridge the weeks-long wait for federal support payments and would help top-up the federal Employment Insurance and Emergency Care Benefit payments, which alone only replace about 55% of a person’s income. We’ve also offered our support to the Premier to help put this plan together, and enact the changes without delay. Please see below for a short summary of all the proposals. We’ve also offered our support to the Premier to help put this plan together, and enact the changes without delay. Please see below for a short summary of all the proposals.
The final announcement is that Mayor John Tory has declared a state of emergency in the City of Toronto. The declaration allows the Mayor to make decisions and issue directives without requiring a vote of Council.
Wash your hands. Stay home (except if you must work). Be kind. We are all in this together.