Today, in response to a recent request from Toronto Mayor John Tory and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, and in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, the Ontario government is maintaining the shutdown, the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures for an additional two weeks in the Toronto Public Health region. The shutdown measures and the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until at least Monday, March 8, 2021, and will be reevaluated at that time based on key public health indicators and consultation with the local medical officers of health.
Ontario has administered over 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Phase One priority populations., which now includes adults 80 years of age and older. At the same time, the province is working with public health units to build and expand its capacity to immunize Phase Two populations by increasing delivery networks and preparing a booking solution and customer service supports for mass vaccination clinic registrations. Ontario has administered more vaccines than any other province.
The unexpected reductions in supply and delayed shipments in early February forced Ontario to quickly adjust its vaccination plan to accelerate its focus on vaccinating the province's highest risk resident populations. Last week, Ontario reached its target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to residents of all long-term care homes across the province and has now administered over 167,000 doses to long-term care and retirement home residents.
When all reasonable steps have been taken to complete first-dose vaccination offers to all staff, essential caregivers and remaining residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and adults in Indigenous communities, first-dose vaccinations will be made available, pending supply, to the remainder of Phase One populations, including those ages 80+. Public health units are currently planning for how they will reach this group, with timing slated for early March.
The province continues to expand capacity and ramp up efforts for Phase Two of its vaccination rollout, expected to begin in April 2021. Public health units have developed plans to operate mass immunization clinics as soon as enough supply becomes available, as well as continuing to offer mobile clinics to vaccinate our most vulnerable.
Ontario is also developing an online booking system to support the next phase of vaccination roll-out. A customer service desk will be made available to those who are unable to book an appointment through the online tool. Details will be provided over the coming weeks.
The Ontario government is expanding the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) to cautiously and gradually reopen in parts of the province. Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors - expanded from 2-9 employees - including those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, can now apply for up to $1,000 in financial support. The expansion is being made as more parts of the province enter the strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework, which allows for the gradual and safe reopening of in-store shopping at non-essential retail stores.
This one-time grant reimburses main street businesses for up to $1,000 in PPE costs incurred since March 17, 2020. Eligible businesses for the Main Street Relief Grant now include those with 2 to 19 employees in the following sectors:
accommodation and food services;
repair and maintenance;
personal and laundry services;
gyms and yoga studios; and
arts, entertainment, and recreation.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in adherence to the Stay-At-Home Order, my constituency office remains closed for in-person visits. My constituency staff and I will be working remotely at this time. We remain ready to assist. You can continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected].