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Ontario extends electricity rate relief, closures

Ontario extends many of the COVID-19 measures.

The Ontario government said on Wednesday that emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses will continue amid the coronavirus pandemic until the end of May while extending the province-wide closures until May 19.

File photo of Doug Ford via Wikimedia Commons.

Users who pay time-of-use electricity rates have been billed at the lowest, off-peak price since March 24 and the latest announcement adds an additional 24 days to that relief.

“During this extraordinary period, many people are struggling to pay the bills as they do the right thing by staying at home, as well as our farmers and those whose businesses have closed or suffered reduced customer traffic,” said Premier Doug Ford in a release.

“Although we are making progress in our fight against this COVID-19 outbreak, we are not out of the woods yet,” the premier added.

“The extension of this electricity rate relief will leave more money in people’s pockets until businesses can start to reopen and people can get back to work.”

The are about five million users that will benefit from the continued off-peak pricing.

The province is also extending all emergency orders put in place to date over the last two months in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the closure of most non-essential businesses, the prohibition of public events and an array of employment measures.

The Ontario government declared an overarching provincial emergency on March 17 under the emergency management and civil protection act, which was last extended on April 14 and is currently in effect until May 12.

(Reporting by Eli Ridder)