Very little will change for Ontario’s auto industry when the province’s stay-at-home order goes into effect 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
“For auto dealers, the only major change from [Tuesday’s] announcement is that showrooms must operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.,” Frank Notte, the director of government relations at the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, said in an email.
Auto assembly and its supply chain, both of which are deeply integrated and highly dependent on U.S. demand, remain unaffected by the new order.
Ontario on Tuesday declared a 28-day state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order for its residents. Under the new terms, Ontario residents will be required to stay at home except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries. Outdoor exercise will be permitted.
The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers currently offering delivery and curbside pickup to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. There is also a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.
The province has been operating under the grey lockdown zone of public health measures since Boxing Day. That means dealerships remained opened, but customers could only shop by appointment only.
Premier Doug Ford’s announcement was met with confusion from the general public to construction companies to Ontario police services, which want to know how to enforce the order.
The province says police and bylaw officers will have the power to enforce the stay-at-home order and issue tickets to rule-breakers, but hasn't given details on how that will play out.
It says it will publish the “legal parameters” for the order online today and offer more clarification on the measure.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.