Recreational cannabis has lost its status as an essential business in Ontario and all 52 of the province’s retail locations have been ordered to close.
Following advice from chief medical officer of health David Williams, the Ontario government said it’s reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. The updated essential businesses list can be found here.
UPDATE: A spokesperson from the Ontario Cannabis Store said it has taken a number of steps since the beginning of the pandemic to increase capacity to manage a larger volume of online orders.
“These services include working with its service providers to add extra shifts at the distribution centre and operating pm a 24/7 basis and to add shipping capability to offer expedited direct-to-door delivery service,” communications director Daffyd Roderick told Mugglehead in an email.
Read more: Canada declares medical cannabis essential
The provincial government said the measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Ontarians, while keeping necessary goods and services available.
The additional closures were announced after two projection scenarios by the province were released by health officials.
“Over the course of the pandemic, between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19 are predicted with current public health measures in place, compared to a total projected 100,000 deaths if no action were taken,” the Ontario government said in a statement. “By taking further measures, Ontario can further reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 down to projections as low as 12,500 additional cases and 200 additional deaths by the end of April.”
The government ordered all non-essential businesses to close by Saturday, April 4, at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, the provincial government said, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves.
“We are facing a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19 and we must do everything in our power to keep everyone safe and healthy and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed,” Premier Doug Ford said Friday. “Everyone must do their part to stop the spread and flatten the curve. If you are not an essential business, you need to close your doors, work from home if possible and play a role to help contain this outbreak. This is a matter of life and death.”
“We have now reached a critical time in our fight against COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Every step taken by the province and every effort made by each of us to avoid close contact with others are the key to our success as a province to stop the spread of this virus.”
Top image of Ontario Government Buildings by SimonP via Wikimedia Commons