16 March 2020 – Social/Physical distancing measures introduced, public gatherings limited to 50 people

Type of Intervention: Advisory, Specific Action
Sectors Involved: Finance/Economy, Health, Private Sector, Supply Chains, Tourism
Intervention Categories: Individual measures; Social and physical distancing measures; Adapting or closing offices, businesses, institutions, and operations; Gatherings, businesses, and services; International travel measures
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Decision Makers: Dr. David Williams (Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health) and Ontario Ministry of Health
Implementers include: workplaces, schools and daycare centres, bars and restaurants, libraries and recreation services, primary care providers

Overview: Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a statement on the enhanced public health measures for containment of COVID-19 spread. A number of actions were described in this statement, including:
(1) Additional Closures:
(a) Limit public gatherings of over 50 people
(b) Closure of the following settings as soon as possible:
– Recreation programs, libraries, private schools, all daycares, all churches and other faith settings, all bars and restaurants (except takeout/delivery)
(2) Social/Physical Distancing:
(a) Practice social distancing to reduce exposure to others
(b) Avoid contact with those outside one’s immediate family
(3) Self-Monitoring and Self-Isolation Practices:
(a) Recommends self-monitoring for 14 days if one has been exposed to someone with symptoms
(b) Recommends self-isolating for 14 days if one is over age 70 or immunocompromised
(c) Those who have travelled outside of Canada in past 14 days must self-isolate for a period of 14 days, including children under 16 years old
(d) If one begins to feel symptoms, they must self-isolate immediately and seek clinical assessment over the phone or virtually
(4) Workplaces:
(a) Recommends employers facilitate virtual work arrangements and limit work activities where possible
(b) Essential workplaces should sustain operations in a manner that maintains social distancing requirements
(5) Seeking Health Care Services for COVID-19:
(a) Use province’s online self-assessment tool
(b) Use Telehealth services
(c) Contact primary care provider over the phone or virtually
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2020/03/enhanced-measures-to-protect-ontarians-from-covid-19.html

Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Learning from other jurisdictions, Perception of an increased threat
Source of Evidence or Justification: National – government, Sub-national, Chief Medical Officer of Health, other Canadian jurisdictions
Evidence/Justification: Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Williams’, statement cites a “number of significant announcements regarding travel and public health measures over the past 72 hours” as reason to clarify his guidance to Ontarians regarding COVID-19. He also mentions consultations with other Canadian colleagues from different jurisdictions and the evolving global situation as evidence to support these actions.