By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The show must go on for essential services in the city of Oshawa despite the provincial government announcing the closure of all non-essential workplaces in Ontario.
Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter remains positive, telling The Oshawa Express things are changing by the hour when it comes to COVID-19.
“We as a local government still have a responsibility to deliver services,” he says. “We’ll have the streets plowed if that’s necessary, we’ve got waste to be picked up, and we’ve got our works department that are working out in communities.”
At the moment Carter is looking at the list provided by the province to determine how the city can best continue to provide services.
“We’re going through the process right now of identifying out of that list how we can be able to duplicate the services to our rate payers, but at the same time we want to make sure we can follow the guidelines of the province,” says Carter.
For those who have to stay home and self-isolate or quarantine, he reminds them their greatest need is their health.
“The most important thing is your health, your safety, and the well-being of yourself and your family,” says Carter.
Oshawa MP Colin Carrie told The Express he believes the announcement made by the Premier Doug Ford government is necessary.
“I think it’s a prudent measure to take. If you look at the list, our essential services are still available,” says Carrie.
He explains the COVID-19 virus and the way it was handled in other countries needs to be put in perspective.
“If you look at what we’ve learned out of Italy and Iran, it’s going to affect between one and two per cent of the population, mostly elderly people, and people who are immunosuppressed,” says Carrie, adding a number of those who contract the virus will feel little to no effect.
However, he reinforces the virus can prove deadly to those who are vulnerable.
“With Canadians, when you ask them do you want to look at saving lives or the economy, Canadians believe there is no price on life. We need to do what we can to save those people who are vulnerable, and you’ll see a coordinated effort across the country,” he says.
Carrie also says he hopes people continue to remain safe and at home, and those who are vulnerable continue to be taken care of.
A list of essential and non-essential services has been made available, and the province will release a 1-800 number and website today (Wednesday, March 25).
In his announcement Ford said:
“Today I’m ordering the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in the province of Ontario. This order will be effective [yesterday,] Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. for 14 days. The next 36-hours will give non-essential businesses the chance to adapt and prepare.”
A list of what is essential and what is non-essential has been released, and can be found at https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/3/list-of-essential-workplaces.html
“The gravity of this order does not escape me, but as I’ve said since day one, we will, and we must, take all steps necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Ford.
Businesses which can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt.
Essential services will be able to continue operations in order to maintain supply chains. Ontarians will continue to have access to necessities, including groceries, medicine, and other essential products.
Ford noted people may be wondering why now, and it’s because it’s important to get ahead of the virus, and to try to slow it down.
“It means food will remain on the shelves. It means Ontarians will still have access to their medications and essential products. It means that power will still stay on, and telecommunications will continue to run,” said Ford.
While slowing down the spread is important, Ford also looked at other nations and the effect the virus is having on them.
“We’ve seen global economies grind to a halt. We’ve seen healthcare systems overwhelmed, we’ve seen heartache and loss, and we’ve seen countries lose this battle,” said Ford. “We in Ontario will not follow in those footsteps. We will not lose this battle, we will get ahead of this for the health and safety of all Ontarians.”
The premier also reinforced the need for those returning to the country to self-isolate.
“To all the snowbirds and the Canadians returning home from abroad, you must self-isolate. I repeat, you must self-isolate,” said Ford. “The health of your friends, your children, and your grandparents depend on this. You and every Ontarian must do their part.”