Since December 26, Ottawa and other states have been locked down. Due to restrictions, Ottawa and other areas in southern Ontario have only 28 days of activities limited to roadside pick-ups, while northern areas have only 14 days.
The COVID-19 outbreak had a drastic impact on the Canadian economy and plunged into a recession. The social distance rules of government had the effect of limiting domestic economic activity.
The companies began considering a large layoff, which was largely countered by a Canadian emergency wage subsidy. However, despite these efforts, Canada’s unemployment rate in May 2020 remained at 13.5%, the highest since 1976.
Statistics Canada reported that economic growth in May was only 4.5% after the end of the lockdown period (latest Canadian economy statistics). During the pandemic, gasoline prices in these two cities hit historic lows. According to the data, the COVID-19 epidemic has reduced public transport with low business activities.
Premier Doug Ford said that the state’s hospitals are flooded by people infected with COVID-19 and need to be closed because they can accommodate intensive care units. The situation in Toronto, Peel, and other GTAs is different from Ottawa, but the infection rate is stable, and there are no COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
Ford said: “My friends, first we need to maintain the capacity of the ICU and the hospitals,” perceiving that more elective surgeries are on the edge of cancellation, while a backlog of thousands of others needs to be worked through.
“In other areas, we have seen uncontrollable cases and deaths.”
Pickering’s free market in the Greater Toronto area is one of the inevitable businesses. After nearly half a century of development, the large indoor market with hundreds of suppliers has been closed.
“The COVID epidemic has made it very difficult to operate,” said Erik Tamm, general manager of Pickering Markets. Today, more than 400 suppliers have to find new sales channels to sell their products.
“I grew up with a lot of them,” Tamm said. “These people are owners of small businesses, and this is disastrous for them.”
Shopping malls and retail stores are closed to shop face-to-face but can provide roadside pick-up, while restaurants can only offer takeaway and delivery orders.
Fitness facilities and gyms are also forced to close. That led the gym owners to push back against the Ford government, saying that fitness is now more important. During the lockdown period, important businesses that mainly sell food (such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and retailers) can remain open.
According to the Canadian Department of Public Health, there are currently over 644,000 COVID-19 infections in Canada, with 16,707 deaths recorded.
Before announcing the closure, the Premier said he consulted with the Chief Health Officer of the Ministry of Health, spoke with the hospital’s CEO and other medical professionals, and had extensive discussions with the Cabinet and central teams. More and more people are moving between different regions of Ontario, and COVID-19 is rapidly spreading from hotspots to less polluted areas.