LONG SAULT — Premier Doug Ford may insist his government’s new order telling Ontarians to stay home except for essential reasons is “very simple,” but the SD&G OPP is still looking for direction on the day it has come into effect.
“The OPP is working with the government and health officials to determine what it all means,” SD&G OPP Const. Tylor Copeland told NVN by email this morning.
The stay-at-home order became effective 12:01 a.m. today. Part of a new declaration of a state of emergency by the province, it requires everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work, according to the government. And it’s backed up by tickets that officers can issue to those who don’t comply.
Below: Premier Doug Ford and Retired General Rick Hillier during yesterday’s news conference.
But what does that actually mean on the ground? Can a Winchester resident get a ticket for grocery shopping in Chesterville because their own town already has a grocery store, making their trip into the other village “non-essential”? Can the police pull over anyone to ask if their presence at that location can be justified as “essential” — and if they can’t, a ticket is issued?
“We are hoping to have further direction shortly,” Copeland said in the email. The constable also said he understands that the ticketing section used by officers during the pandemic won’t be changed.
At least one commenter on social media has pointed out that stores selling exclusively “non-essential” items may still draw customers to curbside pickup — customers arguably prohibited from leaving home because the purchase is non-essential. Others will regularly travel to their jobs at these operations — to sell non-essential items to people who presumably aren’t supposed to go out to collect them.
The idea there could be any confusion over the nature of the stay-at-home order clearly perplexed Ford during a news conference in Toronto yesterday. Having expressed his opposition to an outright curfew of the sort imposed in Quebec, the premier exclaimed that the new rule is “very, very clear: Stay home. That’s it, stay home!”
“There is no confusion here. It’s very simple, stay home, stay home!”
Below, see the full text of the provincial order.