From the office of MPP Norm Miller
As we approach the Easter long weekend, Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norman Miller strongly encourages residents of Parry Sound-Muskoka and all Ontarians to stay home and avoid travelling or gathering to celebrate Easter or Passover this weekend.
“Easter and Passover are important celebrations but this year I encourage everyone to use virtual means—be that a computer, a tablet or the phone—to participate in religious services and in family traditions,” said Miller.
On Friday, Ontario released the medical modelling showing that up to 1,600 Ontarians may die from COVID-19 over the next month, then immediately reduced the types of businesses allowed to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The modeling presented by Public Health Ontario shows that had Ontario taken no action, the impact of COVID-19 would have risen to an estimated 300,000 cases and an estimated death toll of 6,000 people by the end of April. Due to timely public health measures, Ontario has avoided much more dire impacts, preventing an estimated 220,000 cases and 4,400 deaths to date.
Over the course of the pandemic, between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19 are predicted with current public health measures in place, compared to a total projected 100,000 deaths if no action were taken. By taking further measures, Ontario can further reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 down to projections as low as 12,500 additional cases and 200 additional deaths by the end of April.
The updated essential workplaces list specifically states that property maintenance companies should only do “strictly necessary” maintenance required for “essential operations”. In terms of marinas the list states they can only operate to ensure people have access to their primary residences or to support other essential businesses and emergency workers. As well, short-term rentals, including Airbnb, are only to be provided to “individuals in need of housing during the emergency period.”
“I would like to suggest that opening up seasonal residences for people who have another residence in Ontario is probably not strictly necessary and that cottages are not essential,” said Miller.
“I have heard from many businesses that are abiding by the rules and I want to thank them. I would encourage all businesses to review the list and apply common sense as to whether their services are really essential,” said Miller.
“I recognize it is difficult to make the decision to shut down but the less people interact with one another, the sooner we’ll get this virus under control. I’ve heard there is pressure for businesses to provide services that would be considered non-essential according to this list but I hope that all local businesses will play by the rules and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
It is impossible to address every possible situation in the essential workplaces list but Miller hopes business owners will err on the side of protecting themselves, their families and the community. If business owners need clarification, they should call the Stop the Spread toll-free number at 1-888-444-3659.
“To quote Rick Mercer’s recent rant about COVID-19—’Stop looking for loopholes’,” said Miller. “This applies to people and businesses. Please follow the spirit of the list and do everything you can to discourage or avoid all unnecessary travel—both locally and around the province.”
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