The province reopens and I am confused

Yesterday’s big anticipated news was Premier Doug Ford’s outline on the long awaited stage 2 reopening of the economy in Ontario. The guidelines were announced on which businesses could reopen and under what measures. The big catch though is the majority of people can’t benefit. The GTHA, Haldimand and Norfolk region and Windsor are all still in stage 1. Whatever that was. A full detail of the stage 2 reopening can be found here.

The caveat about all this to me, is that anyone can still travel freely throughout the province. There is nothing stopping me or you, from packing the car and traveling to Guelph, Brantford, London, or Ottawa from the GTHA. I’m hoping by now you can see the risk associated with this plan. There is nothing stopping COVID-19 from spreading beyond those regions still in stage 1. Especially when you have a large group of socially starved individuals and families looking for an excuse to get out and do something different than stare at the same four walls.

We may have been able to conduct this reopening properly had we conducted sufficient testing to know for certain what the spread of the disease in Ontario. However, according to critics our testing program has never been calibrated to properly ascertain this. At the start of this pandemic, it was easy to shut down the province. It was easy to tell people to social distance and to readjust their lives according. The Ford government did this very well. I know, I gave them credit at the start. However, the real trick to this, would be how do we transition into a new normal. There is the real test of leadership, because as we’ve moved from stage 1 into stage 2, a lot of this hasn’t really made sense. For example, why could I hire a nanny or housekeeper to come into my home, but I couldn’t have my parents come over to visit their grandchildren? We couldn’t gather in groups greater than 5, yet I was free to wander through Home Depot or Sobey’s running daily errands?

I am pleased that the stage 2 parameters have allowed us to expand our social gatherings to 10. I think it’ll help a lot with the mental health of individuals in the province. However, how we got here leads to a lot of questions of who exactly is running this ship. Our Premier, likes to stand in front of the microphones and lurch from one decision to another. With no rhyme nor reason to it. Take for example, the moratorium on commercial tenant evictions announced yesterday. Something many in the small business community have been advocating for. Myself included. However, you may recall the Premier’s reluctance to enact such measures only a few weeks ago. Stating the legal complexities of such legislation. Yesterday though saw the announcement that the province would join the ranks of many other provinces in enacting tenant protections.

All of this leads to the unanswered question of who is running the show? Who is advising this government on the best course forward? When these questions are asked, this government retreats into its common refrain of shrugging it’s shoulders and pleading “trust us.” This government is planning on announcing the next steps for our education system later today. How will our children remain safe in the era of COVID-19 has been on the top of parents minds for a long time. This isn’t the time to retreat into bad habits. We need open and transparent leadership so we can all be confident that our leaders are making the best decisions possible. Doug Ford was doing a fantastic job at the start of this pandemic. We need that new Doug Ford right now. It’s a horrible time for a relapse.

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