doug ford announcement

Doug Ford blames young Ontarians for virus spread and people have a lot to say

Daily COVID-19 case counts are slowly climbing in Ontario now that regions are testing out various stages of reopening, and with restrictions in grey zone regions slated to loosen further, Premier Doug Ford is asking young people to be particularly careful now that they're making up the bulk of infections.

"Fifty per cent of the cases are in younger people now. And I've got a message to the young folks: guys, this party's not over," Ford told the public at a press briefing on Monday, during which he discussed the fall of the province's travel and tourism industry, which has lost more than 200,000 jobs and $20 billion in revenue due to COVID-19.

"You've just got to make sure you follow the protocols and follow the guidelines, because what happens is you bring it home to one of your loved ones, your parents, your grandparents. It's unacceptable."

He also stated that young people who land in the ICU, which some studies indicate is more likely with new variants of concern, often end up staying there longer, and so contracting the virus as a young and otherwise healthy person is nothing to scoff at.

With case numbers in general, and as far as variants are concerned "going up at a rapid speed," residents have to stay extra vigilant and cautious as things open up again, and not take the easing of restrictions as a sign that we are out of the woods.

He added a special call out to grey zone regions such as Toronto, which like all urban centres, has been a transmission hot spot throughout the health crisis, and where people are now taking advantage of newly-unbarred patios and retail stores.

"Guys, we've got to watch it, this is serious," he said, adding that "we still have a ways to go before we can loosen anything up" despite the fact that things in Toronto have indeed been loosening in recent weeks.

It was announced last week that personal care services like hair and nail salons would be opening in grey zones on April 12 to help out businesses on the brink of permanent closure, as well as residents whose mental health is likewise on the edge after months of lockdown.

It has now been revealed that the eagerly anticipated return of such establishments may not happen as planned depending on virus stats over the next two weeks, with Toronto Mayor John Tory today calling it "very fluid situation just because of the health numbers."

While there was recently hope that the city could soon be ready to enter the red zone, there are now fears that we may get locked down more than ever via the provincial government's emergency brake mechanism, which would drag us back into the lockdown we saw the entire province go under on Boxing Day.

Despite the shaming of people gathering or enjoying new permissions in their region, essential workers have proven to be a large factor in virus spread, with repeated outbreaks among migrant workers, staff at meat packing plants and other factories, those in the grocery and food service industry, and similar demographics.

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