“It now falls on me to do what is necessary,” Mr. Ford said on Friday, adding that aside from restricting border crossings with Manitoba and Quebec, he was also closing playgrounds, golf courses, basketball courts and other outdoor sports facilities, along with a variety of other measures. On Saturday, Mr. Ford wrote on Twitter that the regulations would be changed to allow playgrounds to reopen. Schools were closed during the past week for a delayed March break. But the government had said on Monday that they would remain closed for in-person learning indefinitely.
The measures announced on Friday were met with criticism, including from public health experts, the mayor of Toronto and several police departments, including the Toronto Police Service, which said on Twitter that it would “not be doing random stops of people or cars.” There were also concerns that asking the police to impose such measures could result in racial profiling.
“I know you are all sick and tired of Covid-19,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday as he urged Canadians to follow their provinces’ rules. “We all just want to be done with this.”
Emergency rooms, particularly in Ontario, are reaching their breaking points, as are intensive care units. In a bid to ease the strain, children’s hospitals in both Ottawa and Toronto opened their I.C.U. beds to adults.
Many factors are behind the increasing numbers. Among them is the arrival of more infectious variants of the virus. An outbreak of P.1, the variant first found in Brazil, spread throughout British Columbia and then into Alberta. Manitoba discovered its first case of the variant this week.
And the vaccine campaign has taken a hit: Moderna is cutting deliveries of its vaccine shipment to Canada and other countries, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has yet to arrive in Canada, has come under safety scrutiny.
Pfizer will sell Canada an additional eight million doses of the vaccine it has developed with BioNTech, half of which will arrive next month, and all of which will arrive by the end of July.