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Lockdown 3: Not This Again

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Lockdown 3 In Ontario Starts April 3, But Will It Work?

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Yet Another Lockdown, Hoping To Avoid Disaster

On April 1, 2021, Ontario premier Doug Ford announced that all 34 health units in the province would be moving into what he terms a lockdown. He pulled the "emergency brake" that he warned would be pulled if numbers of COVID-19 patients continued to rise once more in the province, and given ICUs are reportedly at or over capacity, it's clear that something urgent has needed to be done for a while. Ontario is up over 2500 cases daily as of April 1, and as of April 2, Toronto itself was at 1100 cases, which is not a positive sign for what case numbers must be like for the province.

There is no question whatsoever that there has been a great need to gain control over the COVID-19 patient numbers for some time, but the problem is that what the Ford government has done to date has done very little to protect the people of this province. Don't get me wrong; vaccinations have begun and that has been very much needed for some time, and that is definitely a critical component of the fight against this pandemic. There has been a need for appropriate contact tracing to effectively determine where the "hot spots" in each community have been. That hasn't truly occurred because this virus has so effectively dominated public health resources as quickly as possible that it's been almost impossible to say which specific areas beyond long-term care have had outbreaks. The only time we hear there's been a problem is generally when it hits the news.

In short, it's been a very reactive rather than a proactive approach by the government. There's been fingerpointing all over the place, ranging from 20 to 39-year-olds being blamed for the continuation of this pandemic, to blaming the federal government for a slow pace of vaccine acquisition in spite of there being at least a few hundred thousand doses of various vaccines sitting in freezers, per the government's own information.

There is clearly an issue with people still gathering and people still choosing not to mask. I am aware there are those who struggle with masking for a range of reasons, and that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the fact that the people who get hurt most by this latest lockdown are those small business owners who have worked tirelessly to meet every health standard the government has put forward to them and in many cases have gone well beyond the minimum standards that the government has put out.

Then, you walk into a larger box store and see both staff and customers either wearing masks improperly or in some cases not at all - not even a mingle mask, with noses, chins or both exposed. Beyond people wiping down shopping carts and those individuals who are counting people as they enter and exit their facility, you don't really see the level of cleaning going on that you see in small salons, fitness centres, dojos and gyms. You don't see the staff walking around and trying to encourage people to maintain that six feet or better of distance that you do in these smaller establishments. I was in a box store earlier today - I couldn't avoid it, as I could only get what I needed from this establishment - and there were a lot of people ignoring the directional signage, standing almost shoulder to shoulder with people. That would simply not happen in the smaller stores, or the salons, or the fitness facilities because people are steadfastly tracking who is coming in and who is leaving; they're making sure all surfaces are clean and then some, and they're encouraging people to not linger in their establishments, as they are keeping strict tabs on how many people are actually in their facility.

There has to be a better way beyond this lockdown that the Ford government has put us in for a third time. I'm well aware that hospitals are strained almost to the breaking point, and I know there are no easy answers here. I am just a high school teacher and I certainly don't know all the variables in play. However, I'm well aware that there is a mental health crisis that is growing by the day because of these ongoing lockdowns, and the economic crisis this is causing the people behind the businesses hit hardest by the lockdowns is continuing to grow. It's not fair to any and all concerned that these lockdowns to the small businesses continue to occur. A better solution must be found.

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