EXPLAINER: What Niagarans need to know about province’s April stay-at-home order

EXPLAINER: What Niagarans need to know about province’s April stay-at-home order

On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford announced a provincewide state of emergency and stay-at-home order effective at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The order requires people to stay at home except for essential purposes, such as going to a grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health-care services, getting outdoor exercise and doing work that can’t be done remotely.

The biggest difference between the state of emergency and last week’s “emergency brake” shutdown is for the retail sector.

As well, residential evictions will again be suspended.

Retail changes

  • Non-essential retailers may only offer curbside pickup and delivery, no in-person shopping.
  • Big box and discount stores can offer in-person shopping for essential items only. People can go in to buy groceries, pet care supplies, cleaning supplies, medicine and personal care items.
  • Malls will have restricted access for specific purposes only, such as curbside pickup and delivery by appointment, with one designated location inside the mall. There can be any number of locations outside the mall.

Businesses that can open for in-person sales with 25 per cent capacity

  • Outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, indoor greenhouses that sell to the public

Businesses that can open for in-person sales with 25 per cent capacity by appointment only

  • Safety supply stores
  • Stores that sell, rent or repair assistive devices, mobility devices and medical devices, including aids and supplies
  • Rental and leasing services for automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services
  • Motor vehicle, boat and other watercraft stores
  • Optical stores that sell prescription glasses
  • Telecommunications stores that sell cellphones or offer repairs


  • The province is urging people to restrict travel from outside their home region

What hasn’t changed since last week

  • Education: Schools and childcare will remain open for in-person care and learning. Of note: about 4,000 District School Board of Niagara employees and 2,000 Niagara Catholic District School Board employees will receive first doses of COVID-19 vaccine between April 10 and 18 as part of a Niagara initiative.
  • Vaccinations: All vaccination clinics will continue operating as planned.
  • Restaurants: Takeout, drive-thru and delivery only. No in-person dining.
  • Gyms: Prohibited, with very limited exceptions
  • Personal care services: Prohibited
  • Gathering limits: Indoor gatherings not allowed except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone and single parents can have exclusive close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must have no more than five people and comply with physical distancing.
  • Real estate: No open houses. Property showings by appointment only.
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