Ontario to close all non-essential businesses, as province confirms 78 new COVID-19 cases

Change comes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is ordering all non-essential stores and services to close starting Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

This comes as public health officials in Ontario confirmed 78 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning, raising the province’s total to 503.

“This decision was not made lightly, and the gravity of this order does not escape me,” said Ford at a news conference on Monday afternoon, adding the order will be in place for at least 14 days.

The list of what constitutes essential and non-essential services and stores will be released Tuesday, but Ford insisted residents will be able to buy food and medicine and other essential products, and that “the power will stay on” and telecommunications tools will continue to run.

“Every Ontarian must do their part. If you can, please stay home, only leave if necessary,” Ford said.

The tally also includes the death of a man in his 80s in the City of Kawartha Lakes — marking Ontario’s sixth COVID-19-related death — and eight cases that are considered resolved.

At least six of the new cases are hospitalized, including a woman in her 30s, a man in his 40s, two people in their 50s and two people in their 70s.

READ MORE HERE: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-monday-1.5506445