Ontario shuts down businesses again for COVID, spurring outrage
ONTARIO, October 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Canadians — a doctor and a politician — critical of government-imposed coronavirus lockdowns in their province have blasted new measures that effectively shutter “high contact locations” such as restaurants, gyms, and cinemas in Toronto, Ottawa, and the Peel region in Ontario.
“@fordnation @celliottabilityWHY are you doing this? Do you realize the immense & irreparable harm, suffering & deaths your illogical lockdowns/restrictions are causing? Pls govern with #humanity. There’s another way—the saner approach, more moral approach & scientific approach,” wrote Ontario doctor Kulvinder Gill on Twitter Friday, in opposition to the measures, which effectively once again lock down the three most populous regions of the province.
This past Friday, the Ontario provincial government under Premier Doug Ford announced “additional health measures” in modified Stage 2 reopening protocols for Toronto, Ottawa, and the Peel region, due to an apparent increase in new COVID-19 cases in those areas.
Under the new restrictions, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, fitness clubs, team sports, performing arts centers and venues, museums, zoos, and conventions centers have been ordered closed.
The restrictions will be in place for at least 28 days and went into effect this past Saturday.
Schools and churches are not affected by the new lockdown measures, and restaurants are still allowed to sell take-out meals.
Gill is president and co-founder of Concerned Ontario Doctors. She and her group have been critical opponents of the COVID-19-imposed lockdown measures in Ontario and Canada-wide.
She has said the “smears against hydroxychloroquine” as an effective treatment for COVID-19 need to stop. She has advocated for natural immunity as a defense against the virus and is opposed to rushing in a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gill has touted Sweden, which did not impose massive lockdown measures, as a model to follow in how to combat the coronavirus. As she did on Friday, Gill again called out Ford on Twitter over his government’s lockdown measures.
“Premier @fordnation, you have grossly abused your powers with catastrophic lockdowns & restrictions causing immense harm to innocent citizens. Now you’re disrespecting the public office you hold by gaslighting innocent citizens daily. The science and the law are NOT on your side,” wrote Gill on Twitter later in the day.
Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, who has called out Ford’s coronavirus lockdown measures repeatedly, blasted the new measures on Twitter late last week.
“So there was little difference between covid and a bad flu season. But we will destroy our economy, diminish assess to family doctors and healthcare and teach our kids that there classmates are dangerous and kept away from one another. #FordFailedThePeople,” wrote Hillier on Twitter Friday.
Yesterday, Hillier shared on Twitter a letter he received from an Ottawa resident who expressed his dissatisfaction with lockdowns and the harms they can cause.
“More and more health experts confirm that lockdowns will not make the virus go away, and that we have to learn to live with this as part of our normal baggage of natural viruses and illnesses, and that like other coronaviruses in the past, we have evolved to build growing immunity to such viruses and will, as always, adapt and become stronger in overcoming symptoms caused by COVID-19,” wrote a person named “Andre” in a letter to Hillier.
“We continue to live in fear and allow our governments to slowly destroy the livelihood, wellbeing, and safety of a manually selected minority. We are not all in this together.”
Hillier recently raised the alarm over the Trudeau Liberal government’s plan to expand COVID isolation/quarantine facilities coast to coast.
Ford had earlier said he was not in favor of imposing new restrictions on businesses. He later revealed that his health advisers had convinced him to “change his mind” because of new modeling presented to him last Thursday, which showed continued high case counts.
“I stood up here for days, fighting, saying we've got to keep [businesses] going, but after the numbers I saw yesterday ... if I didn't make this decision now, I'd be negligent,” Ford said to reporters last Friday.
Toronto mayor John Tory and the city’s top doctor, Eileen de Villa, had been lobbying the Ford government to impose another lockdown in high population areas of the province, to “slow the spread.”
Tory, de Villa, and Ford went as far as to “urge” families to not gather over the weekend to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, with Tory saying the safest option for those who live alone is to “join with others virtually.”
On Friday, Ford said his government would provide $300 million in funding for restaurants and other businesses that are directly impacted by the new restrictions, in the form of funds for helping with fixed business costs.
Friday’s new restrictions come on the heels of earlier curbs introduced in mid-September, when Ford imposed “severe fines” for those who break physical distancing health rules put in place due to the coronavirus.
Along with the fines, Ford instituted a province-wide reduction in gathering limit size, allowing for only 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, down from 50 inside and 100 outside.
Crowd size limits were not affected by Friday’s new lockdown measures.
As Ontario shuts down many parts of its economy again, some provinces, such as Alberta, do not appear to want to go in that direction.
In speaking with reporters last week, Alberta premier Jason Kenney said new lockdowns would devastate small businesses, adding that “we’re not gonna enforce our way out of this.”
“Alberta has done extremely well on a global scale by taking a lighter approach to restrictions than many other jurisdictions that had vast lockdowns and aggressive enforcement and micromanaging people’s lives,” Kenney told reporters.
Kenney also said he does not believe that “hypothetical numbers” in new modeling, as Ontario used to justify new lockdowns, will “help.”
“At this point, we don’t believe that creating hypothetical numbers is going to improve our COVID response,” Kenney said to reporters.
The timing of Ontario’s new COVID-19 lockdowns comes around the same time the World Health Organization (WHO) changed course, saying over the weekend that world leaders should stop lockdowns.