ontario minister of health

Ontario Health Minister slammed for shopping at LCBO while awaiting COVID-19 test results

One of Ontario's most-powerful government officials is coming under fire today for visiting a liquor store while awaiting the results of her own test for COVID-19.

Health Minister Christine Elliott and Premier Doug Ford were both absent from the province's daily pandemic press conference on Wednesday after learning that Education Minister Stephen Lecce had been exposed to the highly-contagious virus.

Both Ford and Elliott had spoken alongside Lecce at Queen's Park the day previous and, according to the Premier's Office, decided to get tested for COVID-19 "out of an abundance of caution."

Lecce's test came back negative, as announced by the minister himself around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The results for Ford and Elliott, however, didn't come back until this morning.

Both the Premier and Health Minister tested negative for COVID-19, thankfully, but Elliott appears to have hit up the LCBO for some wine between the time she was tested and the time she received her results.

A photo of the minister checking out the VQA selection at an LCBO near Spadina and Dupont made its way to CP24 on Thursday, not long before she was scheduled to speak alongside Ford at a press conference.

In it, Elliott can be seen standing alone beside a shopping basket, wearing a surgical mask.

She does not appear to be breaking any social distancing orders or guidelines, though critics are saying she shouldn't have been in the store at all just hours after being tested for COVID-19.

When asked about the controversy this afternoon, Elliott explained that she was only following medical advice.

"I decided to go for testing yesterday because Minister Lecce was being tested and I had been at the press conference with him the day earlier," said Elliott.

"Minister Lecce's results came back negative before I went for testing and so, while there was no real need for me to go to be tested, I had made a public commitment to do so and so that's where I went."

Elliot said that she was advised at the assessment centre while having her test that she did not need to self isolate as she had "not directly been in contact with anyone with COVID."

Critics of Elliott were quick to share the photo and express their disdain for her behaviour.

"Is a trip to the LCBO really a necessity? Surely you could have ordered online," tweeted one person to Elliott. "How disrespectful to staff that you have deemed 'essential.'"

Others are saying give the hard-working minister a break and denouncing the person who took the photo for invading her privacy.

Elliott has not apologized for going to the LCBO after being tested for COVID-19 despite calls on Twitter to do so, but nor did she actually break any rules. 

"That was the medical advice I was given and that is what I did," she said of shopping while awaiting the results of her test. "And my test results came back negative of course."

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