With the alarming rise in new COVID cases in Ontario, different communities are in different stages of lockdown. Halton, for instance, is in the Yellow category of restrictions, while next door Peel is in Red, representing a much higher level of lockdown. A concern for health officials is that individuals in more restricted areas may be tempted to migrate to neighboring regions where they can still go to restaurants and gyms This has prompted a joint news release by Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward asking people to avoid “COVID tourism.”
The release reads:
On October 9th, the Ontario government implemented targeted public health measures in known hot spots including Peel, Toronto and Ottawa to help mitigate the spread of this highly contagious virus.
To help further minimize the spread in Burlington, we are respectfully asking our valued friends in neighboring hot spot communities to voluntarily refrain from in-person visits to businesses outside their local area. We encourage those in our local community to continue supporting the many local businesses, as they have done throughout the pandemic.
When people travel outside of these hot spots, it defeats the purpose of the restriction, and minimizes our ability to contain the virus. Limiting discretionary travel is essential to preventing additional cases, and potentially avoiding further restrictions that will negatively impact the economic and physical health of more Ontarians.
“We appreciate the businesses who have voluntarily taken steps to communicate to their customers and ask for their cooperation and understanding by not travelling from hot spots to use non-hot spot facilities for the time being,” said Carla Nell, President and CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.
“We support the additional and targeted steps that have been taken by the Province to address sources of contagion in a more precise manner without unnecessarily impacting other activities and businesses,” said Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington. “We are asking people to use common sense and good judgement, leverage digital and take-out options and hope to see our neighbouring communities benefit quickly from these measures, so they may continue to move forward in good health.”
“By working together to take proactive and strategic steps we can do our part to help slow the spread while protecting people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington. “None of us want to see additional restrictions, that’s why we’re asking people in identified hot spots to avoid non-essential travel outside their area.”