Is It Time to Re-Open Some Regions Completely? - Just My Opinion By Ruby Truax
Now that Ontario has begun gradually re-opening our economy, there are calls to completely re-open certain regions of the province that have not been as hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over 65 percent of all Ontario’s cases have been in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto alone has had over 10,700 cases and 800 deaths. Here in the District of Muskoka we’ve had 18 cases, 17 of whom have recovered. One man has died.
The province of Québec is in a similar situation, with the majority of their cases in the Montréal area. Premier Legault has decided to completely re-open certain regions next week, while leaving restrictions in place in “hot spots” such as the Montreal area, and Premier Ford is under pressure to do the same here in Ontario.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has advised the Premier against that, and I agree with him, although maybe not for the same reasons.
Since the pandemic hit the GTA, many people have fled here to Muskoka to ride it out. We’ve been fortunate that most of these folks have been careful to keep themselves and us safe. Since April we’ve also been seeing many more weekend visitors than we’re used to, but again, most of them have respected safety guidelines and we haven’t seen a spike in our infection rate.
Part of that, of course, could be that there hasn’t been much to do up here on weekends other than stay at the cottage. But if we were to open all our restaurants, stores and public amenities, that could change. And if everything here in Muskoka were open while the GTA was not, I believe we’d have an even bigger influx of people coming from the GTA on weekends to enjoy beaches, parks, restaurants and stores, greatly increasing our risk of having the virus spread to Muskoka.
There’s been talk of locking down the GTA, not allowing people to leave the area while the infection rate is still out of control, but that’s not realistic. And judging by last weekend in Trinity Bellwoods Park, it’s not enforceable either. People are gonna do what they want to do.
So I think the Chief Medical Officer's advice was right for the people of Muskoka and other regions that have not been hit as hard as the GTA. I hope Premier Ford heeds it.
Just my opinion.