COVID-19: What you need to know for March 20 — afternoon edition

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Mar 20, 2020


X reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 


  • At Queen’s Park, Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced initiatives to extend digital-learning services for school children who are at home while schools and day cares are closed. The government is launching a Learn at Home portal, gathering existing resources from TVO in one place.

    The premier also says that the government is looking at ways to provide child care for front-line health-care workers. Lecce says that if the province's chief medical officer of health recommends that the current school closure be extended until after April 5, the government will further expand the Learn at Home initiative.

  • The Canada-U.S. border closure will come into effect at midnight tonight.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that undocumented migrants who cross at the US-Canada border will be returned to U.S. authorities, something Trudeau called an "exceptional measure" to protect Canadians. Trudeau also announced a strategy to help Canadian industry ramp up the production of necessary medical supplies, likening it to wartime production measures.

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  • Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter that a Canadian in Japan has died of "complications related to COVID-19." 

  • The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario announced today that 95 Ontario wineries wiill be offering free shipping to anywhere in Ontario; some will be extending free shipping until the Easter long weekend. Readers who want to have wine shipped to their homes will want to remember the revelevant Canada Post rules

  • Walmart Canada has announced that it plans to hire 10,000 people immediately.

  • The CBC reports that Bell, Rogers, and Telus have "all acknowledged their networks are experiencing higher-than-normal traffic. And the telecommunications giants pledge their infrastructure can handle the sudden surge."

  • Unifor wants to see Ontario pay workers sick leave when in quarantine or isolation. “If we are going to get through this crisis, then the plan has to start with giving everyone directed to self-isolate or quarantine paid sick days,” Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, said in a news release today.

  • Provincially mandated restrictions on visitors per patient to public acute-care hospitals in Ontario went into effect today.

Greater Toronto Area

  • Mississauga’s MiWay transit service will be waiving fares and reducing service levels.


  • The Chiefs of Ontario have set up a website for COVID-19 updates.

  • The Canadian Paediatric Society has written a letter to the federal government voicing concern over the potential for COVID-19 to disproportionately affect Indigenous communities. 

  • Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller has shared information about hand-washing in First Nations communities under boil-water advisories.

  • M’Chigeeng First Nation is sharing a campaign to raise money for ventilators at the Manitoulin Health Centre Sites.

  • The Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership has issued a bulletin outlining approved purposes for use of funds in First Nations communities.



  • Kingston is moving its COVID-19 assessment centre from Hotel Dieu Hospital to the Memorial Centre hockey arena. It will begin taking patients on Saturday. 

  • The 10th case of COVID-19 has been confirmed among the repatriated Canadians currently in quarantine at CFB Trenton following an outbreak on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

  • The Goodyear plant in Napanee is halting production until April 3. The company has shuttered all of its operations in North America.
  • The Ministry of Transportation is asking passengers on the Wolfe Island and Glenora ferries to stay in their vehicles while on the ferry to protect the safety of other passengers and crew. 


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