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Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair ask Premier not to be Rolled Back to Modified Stage 2

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*Please see below a letter sent to Ontario Premier Doug Ford from Halton Region’s Mayors and Chair regarding Stage 2.

October 24, 2020

Premier Doug Ford
Premier’s Office
Room 281 Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier Ford,

We are writing to you as the locally elected representatives of Halton Region in response to statements that you made at your news conference yesterday afternoon (Oct. 23) regarding the status of Region of Halton.

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 Region’s Medical Officer of Health responded to the increased infections in sports settings by recommending that all team sports are 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 via additional by-laws.

The majority of businesses 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 (PPE) and modify their space in order to provide a safe environment for their employees and customers.

Halton residents are reasonable and will support any evidenced-based decision. We welcome any data or information that your health advisors have that may impact your decision.

We, the locally elected Heads of Council for Halton Region are available to discuss this matter at your earliest convenience to inform any decision that you are considering.

Sincerely,

Gary Carr, Halton Regional Chair

Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor, City of Burlington

Rick Bonnette, Mayor, Town of Halton Hills

Gord Krantz, Mayor, Town of Milton

Rob Burton, Mayor, Town of Oakville

cc.

Jane McKenna, MPP, Burlington
Ted Arnott, MPP, Wellington-Halton Hills
Stephen Crawford, MPP, Oakville
Parm Gill, MPP, Milton
Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP Oakville North-Burlington
Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region
Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health
Jane MacCaskill, CAO, Halton Region

RELATED LINKS:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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4 thoughts on “Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair ask Premier not to be Rolled Back to Modified Stage 2”

  1. Marcus Cassolato

    I fully support Halton Region & Mayors in their position. Ultimately, an epidemic/pandemic should not be measured by “cases”, especially not asymptomatic cases, from a test (“PCR”) that has a well-known, minimum-50%, false-positive rate that also cannot measure active-transmissible viral load. A viral disease should be measured by non-comorbidity fatalities, comorbidity fatalities (by age), then number of hospitalizations. All this overreaction must end.

  2. I agree with Penny. The health care system is just trying to catch up from the previous lock-down and many people had their treatment derailed and are still in line. At present doctors are saying that another health system closure could be coming.

    We now have local politicians lobbying for allowable caseloads in Halton, asking for a data based refusal of their special case pleadings – when this politicization of public health science happens we are all in trouble. I would say be careful what you wish for.

    In fact the evidence shows that Halton is nowhere near flattening the present curve – remember this need from when it all started? And now Ontario is surging to record increases. Halton will eventually share in this dangerous trend as the exponential factor kicks in.

    This spread will accelerate as long as we keep trying to achieve extinct “normal” economic and social activity levels. Anything resembling normal is nowhere in sight. Some social and business forms and contexts are inherently not compatible with the virus, and will not be sustainable unless and until we eliminate it.

    The so-called Second Wave is substantially driven by efforts to reopen and restart economies, and this is different from the first wave, which started with everything working. This attempt at reopening an economy not working is leading to the weighting of the risk of getting sick against the need to work or sustain a business or social functions like education.

    Reopening is not a one-way street – U-turns may be needed. Indoors settings dominate. Why one type of indoor activity is more risky than another is a good question. High intensity sports that involve a lot of heavy breathing in confined spaces (e.g. SPINCO in Hamilton) could be prime activities for transmission. This congregate, close contact context brings a focus on gyms, bars, dance clubs, restaurants and the like.

    Schools are now open, so a lot more people are in very close proximity. I live in between 2 schools (Aldershot HS and Glenview PS) and watch students come and go and see there is little mask use and no distancing.

    Whatever spread occurs with schools open will be taken home, maybe asymptomatically, and be seen as household and community spread. Households are key, where everyone goes home at end of day and spreads the virus from sitting around and talking. But it’s hard to determine the primary origins of infections.

    Some settings are inherently difficult to make “safe”, and sustainable. Just saying you take every measure does not mean you can actually make it safe. Do not think we can trade it off with some policy that tries to save some business by propping it up with an acceptable level of COVID.

    Reopening, and relaxing public health measures by accepting more cases comes with one certainty – more COVID. We are in a competition with the virus for space and it will win if we do not respect this reality.

    We do not want to go there.

  3. I totally disagree with this letter. Covid 19 cases are on the rise in Halton Region as well.

    How many more people will have their surgery, or screening tests postponed because our hospitals cannot deal with the onslaught of Covid patients. Our front line workers are exhausted, just imagine if we cannot control this second wave. There is a backlog of surgery cases, etc. that will be impossible to clear unless hospitals are permitted to have surgeries and testing taking place on the weekends.

    Many people are not following the “recommendations” by the Medical Officer of Health in Halton Region.

    Outdoor patios that are enclosed in plastic are not outdoor patios, and could pose a definite threat to those who decide they have to go out, even though it has been “suggested” not mandated that they stay home, social distance, and don’t meet with others outside of their households.

    When will people realize that to have a healthy economy you have to have a healthy population. This request will result in a longer semi-lockdown.

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Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600