Coronavirus: Innisfil, Ont. declares emergency in response to COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, fear is rising about whether the novel coronavirus can live on outdoor items, such as coats and shoes.

Innisfil, Ont. Mayor Lynn Dollin has declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Declaring a state of emergency is our way of sending the strongest possible message to our community to stay home,” Dollin said in a statement.

“Innisfil is situated between two municipalities with confirmed cases. It’s only a matter of time before there are cases of COVID-19 in Innisfil, too. ”

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There have been several confirmed cases of the virus in both Barrie and Bradford, Ont. In Barrie, two men in their 70s died as a result of COVID-19.

Innisfil officials say the decision to declare an emergency was made based on the advice of Dr. Charles Gardner, the local health unit’s medical officer of health, and in conjunction with town council and the town’s emergency control group.

“This is the appropriate next step to take as we work diligently to protect public health in Innisfil,” Dollin said in the statement, adding the town is ensuring its residents have access to tools and resources they need, including Innisfil Transit, delivery service and small business support.

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According to officials, there have been reports of groups of people still finding places to congregate in the community.

“Declaring a state of emergency is not meant to cause panic,” Dollin said in the statement. “Please don’t rush out to the grocery store and hoard supplies. But do look at your actions. Do you need to leave the house? If it’s not urgent, the answer is no.”

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford ordered all non-essential Ontario businesses to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. The order will be in place for at least 14 days.

Last week, Simcoe County and the province of Ontario declared states of emergency in response to COVID-19.

Map of Canadian COVID-19 cases:

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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