Today Premier Ford announced additional shutdown measures and restrictions that will take place throughout Ontario for 28 days, beginning Saturday, April 3rd and lasting until Friday, April 30th. Click here to read the City of Burlington’s news release about how this announcement will affect our community.
While we have seen good progress in local vaccination efforts throughout Halton, and Ontario as a whole has now seen over 13% of our population get their first shot of the vaccine, the prevalence of variants across the province has unfortunately led to worrisome increases in both new case counts and ICU hospitalizations.
Ontario is reporting more than 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 today and 23 more deaths, marking the highest daily case count reported in the province since late January
Dr. Dale Kalina, an infectious disease specialist at local Joseph Brant Hospital told CTV News yesterday that ICU numbers in Ontario are “higher than they’ve ever been before” and indicated via his Instagram account that the patients being seen are younger people without comorbidities and older folks who have not been vaccinated.
So while progress is absolutely being made in the vaccine program, and numbers in Halton continue to be relatively low compared to other hot spots in the GTA, we are not yet out of the woods as rising numbers clearly show.
I know this news is frustrating for many residents and businesses, and I continue to empathize greatly with how challenging this journey is for all of us. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but right now the Provincial government and their health advisors are recommending additional steps to curb this concerning trend in new cases and hospitalizations.
The main takeaways from the new restrictions are listed below, and additional details can be found on the Province’s website as always.
Province-Wide Restrictions Across Ontario for 28 Days beginning April 3rd:
- Indoor and outdoor dining is not permitted at restaurants.
- Indoor gyms and fitness classes are closed.
- Use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) prohibited with very limited exceptions;
- Day camps must close;
- Personal care services like hair and nail salons to be closed.
- Indoor gatherings continue to be limited to those within your own household*.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 5 people.
- Essential retail outlets such as grocery stores are to be limited to 50 per cent of their full capacity
- Non-essential retail outlets can continue allow customers inside to a maximum of 25 per cent of capacity.
- Weddings, funerals and other religious services will be capped at 15 per cent of regular indoor capacity.
*Individuals who live alone can continue to have interactions with one other household.
At this time, the Premier and his team indicated that schools are expected to remain open next week leading into the April Spring Break and decisions about in-person learning after Spring Break will be made at a later date as the situation evolves.
If you have additional questions about the framework or need clarification on how it may impact your business or activities, please reach out to our local MPPs’ offices for further details:
- MPP Jane McKenna, Burlington; or
- MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, Oakville-North Burlington; or
- MPP Parm Gill, Milton.
I encourage all our residents to continue the amazing job you’ve been doing in following protocols around masks, physical distancing and limiting gatherings outside of your own household, especially in the coming Easter long weekend. The weather looks great for many outdoor activities that Burlingtonians know and love, including hiking on our many trails, walking along the lakefront, cycling our many paths, playing with your family at a local park, and enjoying warm-weather traditions like spring cleaning and gardening.
I often think of a quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe during these challenging times:
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.”
We are close to the tide turning. Hang in there Burlington. We will get there soon.