Halton’s Regional Chair and the Region’s four mayors have sent a joint communique to Premier Doug Ford, asking him to consider other measures before sending Halton back into as modified stage two pandemic shutdown. The letter released Friday bears the signatures of Regional Chair Gary Carr, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Milton Mayor Gord Krantz and Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette.
The letter reads in part:
We request that you consider a targeted approach, backed by conclusive data on specific sectors that are seeing increased infection rates instead of ordering a full closure across Halton Region.
A blanket approach that unfairly punishes small businesses with no explanation will hurt our local economy and impact buy-in from our residents. A more measured approach would be for the Province to provide guidance and specifically target sources of community spread. It is the same rationale that has been applied to keeping schools open and only closing individual schools with multiple infections instead of closing down an entire school district.
Halton’s Regional Medical Officer of Health responded to the increased infections in sports settings by recommending that all team sports be limited to training only, with proper physical distancing between players and no scrimmages or games, similar to the restrictions currently in place in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York Region. If there are sectors that need to be restricted or are creating concern, Halton Regional Council can work with the province to address those sectors by additional by-laws.
The majority of business in Halton have been following public health guidelines throughout the pandemic and have seen no outbreaks and minimal infections: they should not be punished under a blanket shutdown order. Some businesses have invested thousands of dollars at a time of declining revenue to acquire Personal Protection Equipment and modify their space to provide a safe environment for their employees and customers.
Halton residents are reasonable and will support any evidence-based decision. We welcome any data or information that your health advisors have that may impact your decision.
Yesterday Premier Doug Ford said the COVID numbers in Halton were “very Concerning,” and that a decision on whether to impose more restriction’s would be announced Monday.