Ontario politicians accept that COVID-19 lockdowns are a source of frustration

Ontario's businesses are opening their doors as the major political parties appear to be on the exact same page about how to deal with future COVID-19 waves

Ontario politicians accept that COVID-19 lockdowns are a source of frustration

This suggests that lockdowns may be the thing of the past.

On Monday, the province began the first phase in its economic reopening. Businesses can reopen with 50% capacity for the next 21-days before the measures are slowly dialed back.

Although the impact of the reopening is still unknown, Premier Doug Ford described it as the "first step towards returning to normal."

The premier stated in a statement that "All Ontarians want to put this pandemic behind them and return to the lives we knew before COVID-19".

The government seems to be aligned with the views of its political critics, who in the past called for circuit-breaker measures to stop previous pandemic waves.

Catherine Fife, NDP's Catherine Fife said that lockdown fatigue is real and people are frustrated at the situation during a Monday news conference. "You can't pretend it doesn't exist or hide from it.

Steven Del Duca, Liberal Leader, said that he does not want to see the province subject to another lockdown.

Del Duca stated to reporters, "I didn’t want the last lockdown. I haven’t wanted any lockdown."

However, the political alignment doesn't extend much further than that. Queen's Park's opposition parties stress that the Progressive Conservative government isn't taking steps to avoid future economic restrictions.

Mike Schreiner, Green Party Leader, states that the province must manage both the economy as well as the health system. He recommends increasing the number of sick days for working Ontarians and mandating N95 masks at vulnerable workplaces.

Schreiner stated that if the premier wishes to "live with the virus", then he must take steps to reduce the spread of it.

NDP calls on government to provide more access to PCR testing and additional rapid antigen testing for businesses. It also requests that the government invest in the 34 public health units of the province.

Fife stated that COVID can be managed on a "go-forward" basis. However, it is not possible to do so on a budget. We must support our communities and businesses, and that is what we will do.

Ford flatly denied Ford's request for "strengthened proof of vaccination" that included three doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

While opposition parties have expressed their reluctance towards moving backwards, they also warned the premier to not "randomly" choose a date for pandemic-related measures to end.

The Ford government initially had set March. The date at which all public health measures, including mandatory masking indoors public spaces, would cease to be in effect was originally set by the Ford government. However critics claim that the government must follow the lead of public health officials.

Del Duca stated that "we will reach a point when, collectively the numbers and science will tell us we can begin to remove mandates that are in place", but that it is still not yet.


 

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