Ontario police officers (illustrative)
Ontario police officers (illustrative) iStock

The government of Ontario, Canada’s largest province, is implementing an “emergency brake” lockdown for the next four weeks.

The move is in response to surging COVID-19 cases in the province as it struggles with rising numbers at intensive car units, reported Global News.

The decision was made on Wednesday after a lengthy meeting of the Ontario government cabinet, in the wake of recent appeals by provincial medical experts for such a move to take place.

The measures will begin on Saturday at 12:01 a.m. Under the “emergency brake” indoor and patio dining will not be allowed, with restaurants able to still provide takeout and delivery.

Non-essential stores will be allowed to remain open at 25 percent capacity. While essential stores, such as supermarkets, will be open at maximum 50 percent capacity.

Fitness facilities and personal care services, such as air salons, will be closed.

Schools will continue operating for the time being, although the cabinet has not made a final decision about re-opening after spring break, which occurs the week of April 12, reported the CBC.

According to Critical Care Services Ontario, there are currently 421 patients with COVID in provincial intensive care units. The previous high was 420 patients during the “second wave” in mid-January.