State of Emergency FAQ

State of Emergency Declared

Province of Ontario State of Emergency Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the province issuing a stay-at-home order while also permitting curb-side pickup?

  • This question assumes every single person in Ontario has easy access to online shopping or that there is a big-box retailer in their community.
  • This isn’t the case for many Ontarians who live in rural and remote areas.
  • We’ve learned a lot over the past year responding to this pandemic, including the fact that what may be essential to someone in Timmins and how they buy that item may not be essential to someone in downtown Toronto, who can easily buy items online for delivery.
  • The Government of Ontario determining what retailers may be considered essential risks cutting off many Ontarians who don’t live in Toronto or an urban centre from access to necessary goods. 

What is an essential item?

  • The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.
  • Legally defining what is essential risks cutting people off from goods that may legitimately be necessary for their health, well-being and safety.

What is an essential trip?

  • The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.
  • That said, we have provided broad categories that people should consider before leaving their home: food, health-care services, including medication, exercise or work, where someone’s job cannot be done at home.

What is essential work?

  • The stay-at-home order does not define what work or jobs are essential.
  • Rather, it now mandates that anyone who can work from home must now do so.
  • For example, someone working in retail obviously can’t do their job from home and would be permitted to go to work.

Why hasn’t the province defined who can or should work from home? 

  • The Government of Ontario cannot review tens of millions of job descriptions to determine who can work from home.
  • As such, we are relying on the best judgment and common sense of employers to determine who can do so.
  • If an employee believes they should be working from home, they can contact the Ministry of Labour to file a health and safety complaint.

Why can people still gather in groups of five outdoors? 

  • The outdoor gathering limit of five is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being.
  • Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are now strongly urged to wear a mask.

Can people leave home to exercise? Can I go to my local playground or basketball court?

  • Yes, exercise is considered an essential reason for leaving your home.
  • What that means will be unique to each individual Ontarian: some may wish to go for a walk around the block, while others may wish to go to a local basketball court with their household to shoot some hoops.
  • We recommend that Ontarians consult their local public health unit or municipality to understand what recreational amenities are open in their community.

Can someone living alone still join up with another household?

  • Yes, they can exclusively join one other household.
  • This is to support their mental health and well-being, as well as to ensure those requiring support continue to have access to essential caregivers.

Is there a time limit for how long people can leave their homes? 

  • No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgement when leaving their home for essential reasons.
  • They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside of their home as possible.

Is there a limit on the number of times someone can leave their home in a day? 

  • No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgement when leaving their home for essential reasons.
  • They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside of their home as possible. 

Can people travel to their cottages or secondary residences? 

  • Right now, we are asking people to stay home and only leave their home for essential purposes, which could include emergency maintenance of a secondary residence.
  • In the spirit of the stay-at-home order, at this time we are not recommending intra-provincial travel.

For more information, visit the Province of Ontario's COVID-19 webpage.

City of Niagara Falls State of Emergency Frequently Asked Questions

What is a declaration of emergency?

  • Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Mayor (or his or her designate) and the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the Premier have the authority to declare an emergency
  • An emergency declaration may extend to all or any part of the geographical area under the jurisdiction of the municipality
  • An emergency is defined under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as “a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.”
  • It aligns us with the Province of Ontario's declaration and we are seeing many communities across North America do the same to ensure people understand the gravity of COVID-19, to support self-isolation and social distancing, and to help focus our City on essential services and activities.
  • View the City of Niagara Falls State of Emergency Press Release

Why would the City of Niagara Falls declare an emergency?

  • Niagara Region and Niagara’s 12 local area municipalities have jointly declared a State of Emergency. By declaring this emergency together, it provides one clear voice across the Niagara Region.
  • For more information, view the Niagara Region’s media release

How the City is currently delivering our services?

  • At this time, there is no change to how we are currently operating in terms of following provincial directives on core service delivery
  • The declaration is in place in the event the current landscape changes and  immediate measures need to be taken in the workplace or in the community

How long is this going to last?

  • There is no way to know at this time. From what we have seen in other countries, it could be weeks or it could be longer.
  • The most important thing we can do to help slow the spread of this virus and mitigate the impact it has on our community and our healthcare system is to stay home. The more we do right now, the better off we will be later.

Can I still use outdoor amenities?

  • The answer to this question will depend on each individual's situation. Please see the Government of Canada's guidelines on physical-distancing, self-monitoring, self-isolation or mandatory self-isolation.
  • If you determine it is safe to do so, the City encourages residents to get outside and exercise.
    • Outdoor recreational amenities remain open with restrictions, for example, no team sports such as hockey are to be played or practiced.
    • When outdoors, please ensure physical distancing of two metres is maintained while taking part in other outdoor activities such as ice skating, walking, cross country skiing and tobogganing.

What is the City of Niagara Falls doing to help slow the spread of COVID-19?

  • The City of Niagara Falls Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated since March 13, 2020, and is meeting weekly.
  • Direction is being received from Public Health officials at the Provincial and Regional levels.
  • We are making decisions and taking action every day to reduce the potential for spread in our community. 

For more information, view the City’s COVID-19 webpage.