People in Ontario are not all happy about Doug Ford's new reopening plan
Premier Doug Ford revealed on Tuesday a much-anticipated, all-new framework for further reopening regions in Ontario moving forward, and, as was perhaps to be expected, not many people appear to be fans of the plan.
People ranging from everyday citizens to critical care doctors seem to have strong opinions on the update, with some considering the move irresponsible to the health and well-being of the population.
Others are finding it still too restrictive for struggling businesses that have suffered immeasurably since the onset of the health crisis.
According to the colour-coded framework, public health units in the province will now be put in one of five stages based on their COVID case numbers: Grey-Lockdown (maximum measures, similar to Stage 1 or pre-Stage 1), Red-Control (stringent measures, similar to our current modified Stage 2), Orange-Restrict (intermediate measures), Yellow-Protect (strengthened measures), and Green-Prevent (standard measures, similar to Stage 3).
The "hot spot" regions recently brought back into modified Stage 2 lockdown will be reopening things like indoor dining and gyms starting this weekend — albeit with firmer measures than before, and with the exception of Toronto, which will transition over from modified Stage 2 on Nov. 14.
The majority of public health regions, as it currently stands, fall into the green category, with Brant, Hamilton, Durham, and Halton sitting in Yellow, and Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Peel, York and Toronto considered orange.
The main complaints with today's announcement seem inspired by the fact that many believe case numbers are still too high to consider further reopening. The province today saw a record 1,050 new infections despite Ford assuring citizens last week that numbers were projected to trend downwards.
Announcing loosened #COVID-19 #restrictions on the same day our #province posts a new record high in cases is an #achievement in #carelessness @fordnation prob shouldn’t have stuck to the script today.#Ontario need better plan to keep the #economy moving.— Qasir Dar (@QasirDar) November 3, 2020
There are also concerns with things like the thresholds between colours, which some say are too high and will leave many places open more than they perhaps should be.
Things like weekly incidence rate per 100,000 residents, R naught or transmission rate, level of community transmission, and hospital capacity will be determinants of whether a region moves to another level of the framework.
This plan is proof that you’ve given up on keeping the people of Ontario safe. To get back to stage two a region needs to have over 10% positivity rate and right now we only have a 4.2% AND seeing record high case numbers. This is a monstrous move. #onpoli #COVID19Ontario— adam carroll (@imadamcarroll) November 3, 2020
Meanwhile, a lack of a strong plan for testing, which has been lagging in recent days, and contact tracing, which some jurisdictions have completely stopped, has others very worried.
And some are finding the entire scheme just a little too complicated, as governments are all seemingly making things up as they go along.
BREAKING NEWS: Doug Ford and Public Health Ontario introduce detailed new graph outlining COVID-19 action plan. pic.twitter.com/O1qbLBjRsr— Greg Tolan (@Greg_Tolan) November 3, 2020
On the flip side, many fear for our floundering economy and small businesses that are on the brink of complete and permanent failure due to months of pandemic closures, and have been urging Ford to ease lockdown in parts of the province for this reason, especially with no immunization or cure in sight.
Solely based on that weekly incidence threshold of ≥100 cases per 100,000 per week, the only two Ontario health units that have ever qualified for CONTROL at any point in the pandemic are:— Ed Tubb (@EdTubb) November 3, 2020
1. Haldimand-Norfolk from June 1-8.
2. Peel as of today. pic.twitter.com/WDnKbpt04L
And, of course, the anti-lockdown groups are far from pleased.
Ask him why there's no specifically outlined plan to end restrictions and lockdown threats in here? If Ford wants people to listen, he needs to have this in there. Otherwise he's going to continue to get ignored.— Economists Against Lockdowns in Ontario (@AntiLockdownONT) November 3, 2020
As Ford has alluded to in prior pressers, he's had a hard time staying on anyone's good side, with people extremely passionate — and thus critical — on both sides of the issue, either for more stringent lockdown or for loosened measures.
As tensions and case numbers rise, we'll have to wait and see how Ontario fares as we move into the uncharted waters of winter, a.k.a. peak flu season, during a second wave.
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