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Doug Ford Insists ‘There Is No Confusion’ About Ontario’s New Lockdown Rules

He said officials who say they’re confused are being irresponsible.

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says there’s nothing confusing about his government’s new COVID-19 lockdown measures, which enable police to ticket people out on non-essential trips but let non-essential retailers keep doing curbside pickup.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at Queen's Park in Toronto on Jan. 12, 2021 to announce a state of emergency and stay at home order because of rising cases of COVID-19.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at Queen's Park in Toronto on Jan. 12, 2021 to announce a state of emergency and stay at home order because of rising cases of COVID-19.

“Folks, there is no confusion here. It’s very simple. Stay home. Stay home. That’s it,” he said at a press conference in Toronto. “If you’re questioning, ‘Should I go out?’ You got the answer. Stay home. Restez à la maison. That’s simple.”

The premier appeared to be responding to Toronto Mayor John Tory, who said Wednesday morning that he had some questions about the new orders.

“Stay home. Restez à la maison. That’s simple.”

- Premier Doug Ford

The Ford government’s rules, which go into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m., ban outdoor gatherings of more than five people but allow public places like skating rinks to stay open, Tory noted.

“Is a skating rink an organized social or public event or is it not?” Tory wondered in an interview on CP24. “We have a limit of 25 people on those rinks.”

Ford said “elected officials” who say they’re confused “aren’t being responsible.” He did not answer Tory’s question.

“Stay home. Stay home. I don’t know what more I can describe,” the premier said.

Other questions remain about how police and bylaw officers, who have new powers under the orders, will enforce the rules. Ontario said Tuesday that these officers will be able to ask for identification and ticket people who break the “stay at home” order.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who commands the city’s COVID-19 response, said he hasn’t seen any more detail than the public has.

Asked by a reporter how the orders would be enforced, he said he didn’t know.

“The reality is we don’t know. Literally, the best information we have right now comes off a media release and a slide deck,” Pegg said at a city press conference. “It simply is not the technical detail that we need in order to assess or understand that.”

HuffPost Canada sent questions about how the orders will be enforced and why some of the rules are contradictory to a spokesperson with the premier’s office, who replied with one sentence.

“Premier Ford couldn’t have been more clear with Ontarians: stay home.”

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