Northwestern Ontario will be shut-down over the next two weeks, as Ontario’s Boxing Day lockdown took effect as of 12:01 a.m. this morning.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is asking all residents to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, and essential retailers will remain open with 50 per cent capacity limits. Non-essential retailers will remain open with curbside pickup and delivery only.

Indoor public events and social gatherings will be restricted, except with members of the same household. Those who live alone can have exclusive contact with one other household.

Restaurants and bars will only be able to operate by take-out, drive-through or delivery only. Non-essential surgeries have been postponed.

For those traveling over the holiday lockdown, the Northwestern Health Unit says travel outside of your region or to another province should be limited to only essential purposes, and you’re asked to self-isolate for 14 days when you arrive.

The NWHU says essential reasons for traveling may include: accessing medical services, shared parenting arrangements, etc., or travel to provide essential services such as truckers, health care providers, emergency response, enforcement officers, construction and maintenance of public infrastructure, etc.

Manitoba border communities who use Kenora as their main service hub and do not travel west of Falcon Lake are exempt from this recommendation.

During this week’s briefing with media, Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford says there’s been discussions about how to respond to issues at the provincial border, where the monitoring of non-essential travel could become a more important issue, if case numbers rise.

"We are more prepared than we've ever been to set up border monitoring for non-essential travel. It has been more than discussed. There are considerations for what that would look like," he noted.

Regional school boards will be allowed to resume in-person instruction as of January 11, and students are being asked to learn virtually between January 4 and 11. All before and after school programming will be closed until January 8, and childcare for healthcare and frontline workers will be provided.

All employers are asked to make every effort to allow employees to work from home during this time. A new grant has also been made available for businesses with less than 100 employees who are affected by these measures.

For more information:
Rickford addresses regional approach, Manitoba border
Lockdown to start Boxing Day, not Christmas Eve