TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday it will still be weeks before Canada can start reopening the economy and the country’s most populous province announced that all nonessential businesses will be closed until at least May 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario extended its state of emergency for another 28 days. Ontario Doug Ford said Ontario’s schools will not reopen on May 4 as it is too soon to relax measures as the province continues to fight the new coronavirus.
“Everyone is very interested to know when things are going to get back to normal, when they’ll be able to go back to work,” Trudeau said.
“The reality is, it is going to be weeks still. We recognize that it is going to be important to get our economy going and we will have to do it in phases.”
Canada has more than 26,880 confirmed cases including 898 deaths. More than half the deaths in the country have occurred in long-term care homes.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Trudeau also said that anyone returning from overseas without a credible isolation plan will be required to quarantine in a hotel.
The new rule begins at midnight. Trudeau said an inadequate plan would include those who no set destination for someone who has been out of Canada for years. He also says an inadequate plan includes those who plan stay with many elderly family members. The federal government will pay the costs.
The U.S. Canada border remains closed to all nonessential travel. Canada is still receiving repatriation flights for Canadians who have been stranded abroad. Trudeau said travel restrictions will remain for many weeks.