doug ford

People in Ontario are thanking Doug Ford but not for the reason you'd expect

It's pretty safe to say that constituents in Ontario are not fans of Premier Doug Ford these days as the provincial government continues to, in many people's eyes, completely mismanage the COVID-19 crisis.

Between incessant lockdowns that are extreme enough to ruin lives but not enough to actually curb virus transmission where needed, to an embarrassingly sluggish and confusing-as-hell vaccine rollout, Ford has not gained many fans in recent months, though he has relinquished much of his responsibility to the health officials on his team.

As the province finishes up its first week of another full shutdown more than a year after our first one — with even more restrictions on the way today — the COVID fatigue has set in, as has a feeling of general disapproval of the current leadership.

And while health experts call for more public health restrictions and businesses are protesting existing ones, "thanks Doug" has been trending on Twitter, giving residents a way to publicly air their grievances.

Major pain points include our lack of accessible vaccines as other countries swiftly and smoothly get needles into the arms of much of their population, as well as the constant oscillation between reopening and locking down — like when grey zones recently got to open patios after more than three months just to have to shutter them within two weeks.

Some are also speculating about what the major announcement coming from Ford on Friday afternoon could be, anticipating things as heavy-handed and draconian as a curfew or as necessary as further restrictions on parts of the economy, like in high outbreak settings such as construction sites and factories.

As has been the case for some time, the frustration and division is only growing progressively more palpable as we face the prospect of a summer in full lockdown, while some of us have effectively already been in the strictest form of the Doug's "lockdown" — save for those two weeks of patios and month of non-essential retail — since Nov. 23.

Some businesses have been closed for even longer.

At this point, many people seem to think more restrictions are too little, too late, and are also misdirected efforts when officials should be focusing on ramping up vaccine procurement and distribution  —and making the process of getting a vaccine easier to navigate — and focusing measures on the areas of the economy that are still freely operating.

But despite all the negativity from a population that is at its wit's end and perhaps its mental breaking point, there are some who feel for the very difficult position that the premier has been put in, with citizens demanding all types of conflicting action from both sides.

Ford will be making his announcement about additional pandemic measures Friday at 2:30 p.m., less than two weeks after the province was plunged into a full emergency shutdown and just over one week since a stay-at-home order was implemented.

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