ONTARIO REMINDS PUBLIC TO STAY HOME AND TRAVEL ONLY WHEN NECESSARYPublished on January 21, 2021
TORONTO ― The Ontario government is working with transportation agencies and providers to support the Stay-At-Home Order and help stop the spread of COVID-19. Using tools like provincial network signs and transit communications systems, the province is reminding drivers and transit passengers, such as GO Transit, Ontario Northland, intercommunity buses and ferries, to only leave home when necessary to pick up essential items, attend a medical appointment, exercise or go to work if you can't work remotely.
"We are asking everyone to help contain this deadly virus by simply staying home as much as possible and following the public health guidelines," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "We know people have made tremendous sacrifices so far during this pandemic, but with vaccines now available, there is hope that we will soon be able to return to a normal life. But until everyone is immunized, please stay home, stay safe and save lives."
To support the Stay-At-Home Order, customers on Ontario Northland will receive a reminder when booking travel to stay home and only travel when necessary. This is in addition to safety messages on 210 signs across the provincial highway network, 20 ONroute locations and on Wolfe Island and Glenora ferries and terminals. The province is also working with municipal transit providers to remind passengers of the Stay-At-Home order.
"Public transit systems across Ontario have gone to great lengths throughout this pandemic to provide safe and efficient travel, particularly for our frontline workers who rely on transit to get to where they're needed most," said Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA). "Although our public transit systems continue to operate, our strong message to the general public is to stay home and avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary."
The province is also working with its transportation agencies to revise services to meet customer demand while still ensuring safe travel for passengers and employees. Starting January 23, 2021, GO Transit is temporarily replacing select GO train service with buses and reducing service on UP Express. Ridership on GO Transit and UP Express has decreased by more than 90 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The health and well-being of Ontarians is our top priority. That's why we have taken urgent action to introduce additional public health measures in response to the new spikes in COVID-19 cases," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Under these measures, everyone across the province must stay home to limit contact with those outside of their household and stop the spread of this deadly virus."
- Metrolinx has also implemented more than 40 measures to ensure customers and staff remain healthy and safe, including distributing stay-at-home messages on their digital platforms – and reminding customers on board their trains and buses.
- On January 12, 2021, Ontario declared a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).
- As of January 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., a Stay-At-Home Order is in effect for all of Ontario. People should only go out for necessities, such as getting food, beverages or medication, going to medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, obtaining government services, childcare, attending school or a postsecondary institution, getting exercise or walking pets, going to a bank, attending a store for curbside pickup or going to work, if you can’t do it remotely.
- If you must leave your home, wear a face covering in indoor public spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge, practice two metres physical distancing with anyone outside of your household (the people you live with), and wash your hands thoroughly, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- For more information regarding GO Transit schedules and departures times please visit gotransit.com/servicechanges
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- Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine web page to view the latest provincial data and information on COVID-19 vaccines
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.
- Get tested if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert App. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
- To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People, which has information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.
- To stay safe, you can download the COVID Alert App free from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
- Read the safety guidance for public transit systems and passengers.