Ontario reeling over COVID stay-at-home order

Jan 15, 2021

The Ford government is facing criticism over its stay-at-home order. Many people in Ontario say the directives aren’t clear and even some health care professionals say they’re disappointed.

Ontario’s stay-at-home order is now in effect across the province.

“It’s very simple. Stay home,” said Premier Doug Ford.

But since it was announced, the Ontario government and the media have been inundated with thousands of questions from people confused about the rules and what is or is not considered essential.

As part of the order, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home does. However, there are several exemptions, such as grocery shopping, work, school or child care, health safety and legal reasons and caring for pets, to name a few.

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expert, is critical of the stay-at-home measure, saying it’s a symbolic gesture. Instead, more should be done to help essential workers.

“I’m very concerned about people who work in the essential work environment, in hard-hit hot zone places," Sharkawy said. "They’re not getting paid sick leave, they’re not getting access to testing, they’re not getting isolation facilties and support that they need. And I think that that would be entirely more helpful and more constructive than telling people that they just need to stay home.”

Sharkawy also questions whether the stay-at-home order is even enforceable.

Other health experts say the order will only lower the number of COVID-19 cases if people actually follow the guidelines. Dr. Lisa Barrett, another infectious disease expert, said if you don’t do a real lockdown, you’re not going to see the results.