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Media Release: Ontario announces Provincewide Shutdown

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/Dec. 21, 2020 

Today, the Province of Ontario, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts announced a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will come into effect in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) region for 28 days starting Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

 “In our region we have seen an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks and it is imperative that we get it under control as quickly as possible,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “The measures announced today, while difficult, are absolutely necessary. Please stay home unless you need to go out for essentials such as groceries, medical care or for work, and avoid socializing with anyone who does not live with you. If everyone adheres to these restrictions, we can get the number of cases under control and protect the most vulnerable in our community, preserve our health system capacity and save lives.”

The additional public health measures that have been put in place include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
  • While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacherled remote learning when students return from the winter break on Jan. 4, 2021. In the HPEPH region, the plan is for elementary school students to return to in-person learning on January 11, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.
  • For more information, please visit Province of Ontario’s website.

While the Provincewide Shutdown is in effect, the COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused. The impacts of measured imposed by the shutdown will be evaluated throughout the 28 days to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.

To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Media Contact:
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.