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Ontario Premier Doug Ford has ordered all non-essential businesses in the province to shut down, a significant escalation in the fight to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and will last at least 14 days. On Tuesday, the government will release a list of the businesses that will be allowed to stay open, Ford said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

"We must get ahead of this virus to beat this virus," said a sombre Ford, speaking from Queen's Park. "We must slow the spread."

Ford said the public will still be able to access groceries, medicine and other essentials. Vital services such as power and telecommunications will also keep running.

Workplaces that can run with employees working remotely now have just under 36 hours to "adapt and prepare," Ford said. The province is prepared to extend the shutdown order if necessary, he added.

"This is not the time for half-measures," the premier said. "This decision was not made lightly. And the gravity of this order does not escape me."

Ford didn't say whether Ontario would offer compensation to businesses, saying the province would announce more details of its plans Tuesday morning.

Ontario reported 78 new cases of the novel coronavirus Monday, a significant jump that brings the province's total recorded cases to 489. Six deaths in Ontario have been linked to COVID-19.

When asked whether Ontario would tighten restrictions on gatherings — right now, groups of up to 50 are allowed — Ford said only that the government is following the advice of the province's chief public health officer, Dr. David Williams.

"We must get ahead of this virus to beat this virus," said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. "We must slow the spread."

Though Ford urged hope, telling the public the province would have their backs, he also sternly called for Ontarians to follow public health guidelines around social distancing. At times, he was visibly frustrated, especially when describing "numerous stories" of people returning from abroad and disobeying orders to self-isolate for 14 days — including 'snowbirds' who spend winters in Florida.

"The rules in Florida is not the rules here in Ontario," Ford said, adding that failing to self-isolate puts thousands of others at risk.

"Down in the U.S, it is spreading rapidly, right across their country. We have to take strict measures to make sure people, once they arrive, go directly home."

Ford also repeated pleas for everyone else to continue to practice social distancing: "If you can, please stay home," he said. "Only leave if necessary."​​​​​​

This story was updated at 2:38 p.m. ET.

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Now is the time to implement a federal income plan, provide a basic income for everyone. People: renters, homeowners and the homeless should all be receiving support. It will be too costly and too slow for our usual processes: to design, implement and monitor a needs based method, by the time people apply it will be too late. Civil service is already drowing in a half million EI applications. Let's fix this without generating needless paperwork and delays.

Start with the registered voter list and start sending payments. Encourage all potential voters to register. Setup a service to register those who are here without voting priveledges, including refugees, assylum seekers, and travelers trapped here by closed boarders.

Having enough money to pay for shelter and food will increase everyone's ability to maintain the physical distancing this pandemic demands and will increase everyone's ability to withstand the anxiety and mental strain this pandemic inflicts.

This is the time for progressive action. Thank you for your comment, Wendy.

Progressive action is indeed in order. I don't see that promises to make sure people's portfolios won't suffer is progressive action.
I wonder how many people realize how little people live on, who are disabled and cannot work, in Ford's province. Let me tell you. Approx. $1100 a month. And after they have their medical reports in (that can take upwards of 6 months to get completed), it's another 5 months' wait till they see a cheque. In the meantime, they live on "Ontario Works" ... that provides about $735 a month (if they made more money than that the prior month, it is deducted dollar for dollar ... unless they were self-employed: then the last 3 months' gross revenue is deducted. You read that right. Wonder why people are homeless still?
Never mind: there are shelters for the hours between 8 pm and 8 am. Rise and shine and walk to the soup kitchen for breakfast ... woops: make that lunch. No breakfasts.
So I wonder at what *rate* any "universal" basic income would be paid at.
Not only that, it's hard to understand how paying that out to the likes of Mr. Ford and Mr. Tory could in any way be called "progressive."
Same problem as all over: insufficient campaign contribution capacity to qualify for human consideration.
Frankly, it's difficult also to understand how extra hundreds of dollars a month per child is progressive when paid to families with $200Kpa incomes ... because the kids are at *home*? Surely you mean because they don't have to pay now for daycare!
Seniors (including those disabled) with nothing but GIS and OAS: $1530/mo (self-employment income deducted dollar for dollar -- $3500 pa exempt if other-employed ... (that changes as of July -- but for now, it's still the number); additional earnings from all sources deducted 50 cents on the dollar. Call it a 50% income tax bracket.
I don't know about you, but I've known lots of kids out on their own, working part-time temp, still too young to vote.
Neither do I find bailing out oil companies "progressive." I suspect many people who don't work or own shares in that industry would agree.