Quebec and Ontario order closure of all non-essential businesses to slow spread of COVID-19

COVID-19/coronavirus update: March 23, 2020

Quebec and Ontario have ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada surpasses 2,000.

The closures are set to begin at 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, both provinces announced on Monday.

Quebec Premier François Legault said that the province will be “on hold” for at least three weeks, until April 13. Legault said while the shutdown will go into effect at midnight, he urged stores and businesses to close as soon as possible.

He said the decision was made after public health officials determined that COVID-19 is now spreading through community transmission. Up to this point, the vast majority of confirmed cases in Quebec were linked to people who had travelled abroad.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, said the list of what constitutes essential and non-essential services and stores will be released Tuesday. But he insisted residents will be able to buy food and medicine and other essential products, that “the power will stay on,” and telecommunications tools will continue to run.