Premier Doug Ford is asking Ontarians to use their best judgement before deciding to leave their homes. In a media briefing Wednesday that was supposed to clear up confusion about what the stay-at-home order means for residents, it was thin on detail.
Ford says unless you are going out for an essential reason you must stay home. Some of the examples he used were getting food or medicine, exercising, or going to work if you can’t work from home.
When asked about how the stay-at-home-order will be enforced, Ford said, “The order is the law and it will be enforced” before handing the question over to Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. Jones said police officers and bylaw enforcement have been enforcing orders already under the Reopening Ontario Act since March, “The Reopening Ontario Act is very clear that if you are not at your place of residence and you need to be fined or will be ticketed as a result of the orders, they [police, bylaw officers] have an obligation to ask for your name, date of birth and address to lay that ticket.”
At the end of the briefing Ford seemed in awe of people saying the order is confusing telling people to stay home 8 times, including in French, in a 51-second monologue, “You know I hear there’s a little bit of confusion on the order and everything. There is no confusion I hear some elected officials, local ones and other ones “oh it’s confusing”. Folks, there is no confusion here, it’s very simple, stay home. Stay Home, that’s it. If you are questioning whether I should go out, you got the answer. Stay Home. Restez a la maison. That’s simple, and it is very simple, stay home. Stay home, I don’t know what more I can describe…the message is home stay home, can’t be any clearer than that…staying home stay safe and save lives.”
But, in a memo of frequently asked questions sent to reporters from the Premier’s Office, it’s clear the province doesn’t have the ability to determine essential trips, services, or work for each Ontarian:
What is an essential item?
The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. Legally defining what is essential risks cutting people off from goods that may legitimately be necessary for their health, well-being, and safety.
What is an essential trip?
The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. That said, we have provided broad categories that people should consider before leaving their home: food, health-care services, including medication, exercise or work, where someone’s job cannot be done at home.
What is essential work?
The stay-at-home order does not define what work or jobs are essential. Rather, it now mandates that anyone who can work from home must now do so. For example, someone working in retail obviously can’t do their job from home and would be permitted to go to work.