Premier apologizes for public health measures amid lockdown

Published On April 25, 2021 | By Alleiya Tinglin- Dystant | COVID-19, News

In a news conference, Premier Doug Ford said he moved the province too fast when he announced new restrictions to help curve the third wave of COVID-19.

He announced new measures on April 16 which allowed police officers to randomly stop drivers and pedestrians and ask them why they left their residence.

Among other measures suggested to control the rapid spread of COVID-19 was to close playgrounds.

This announcement was heavily criticized and the government reversed its decision as numerous police jurisdictions said they would not enforce the measure.

During the apology, Ford said he would be working on a paid sick leave plan for essential workers to help stop the spread of infection rates but did not outline a time frame.

The federal budget announced Monday did not include improvements to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, he said.

A stay-at-home order was placed on April 7, asking Ontarians to only go outside for essential purposes such as groceries, medical prescriptions, and medical appointments.

Public health and workplace safety measures have been put in place to help slow the spread, said Christian Hasse, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

“Restaurants and personal care services continue to remain closed for dining and open for takeout only, personal care services are prohibited, and the capacity has been limited in grocery stores to 50 per cent,” Hasse said.

The new measures include restrictions on retailers, workplace inspections, and vaccine rollouts, he said.

“Some of the restrictions include big box stores that are only allowed to sell food, medicine, pet products, and hygiene products and prohibit the sale of non-essential items like clothing and shoes by taping and blocking the area so customers cannot access them,” Hasse said.

A comparison will be shown between the lockdowns that took place in 2020 and the current lockdown in 2021.

Vaccinations are currently being distributed to people living in regions with high transmission rates and eligible age groups can book online through the covid-19 booking link, he said.

Toronto and Peel Region continued to have high transmission rates and will receive prioritized vaccines according to the public health regions, Hasse said.

Peel Region, which includes the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon, reported Brampton had the highest cases at 60.2 per cent, said Ashleigh Hawkins, a representative from Peel Public Health.

Peel compared case data from March 2020 to March 2021 and it showed a spike of 15,000 cases in November 2020 and this has continued to rise, Hawkins said.

The cases continued to rise throughout the months and as of March 2021 the cases were at 80,000, she said.

As Ontario’s cases continue to rise it has proven that measures need to be taken using the latest modeling data, Hawkins said.

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