During these unprecedented times, the constituents of York-Simcoe have come together to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Each and every one of you have shown an incredible spirit of duty and volunteerism.
York-Simcoe workers, businesses and residents have shown exemplary cooperation and resilience throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to your hard work, Ontario is well-positioned to reopen gradually.
We’re beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak. On April 27th, our government released A Framework for Reopening Our Province.
This framework outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
A successful reopening of our province requires everyone to continue to do their part so our collective hard work and sacrifice pays off. Along with the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place, Ontario’s economy can open gradually and safely.
We’re all in this together so please continue to practice physical distancing and stay home.
Member of Provincial Parliament for York-Simcoe
Ontario Significantly Increasing Daily Lab Testing
Our government recognizes how important testing is in defeating COVID-19. Simply put, the sooner we can identify cases, the sooner we can act, contain cases and stop the spread, the sooner we can save more lives.
The collaborative work we’ve done in partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, and hospital and community laboratories, to build significant testing capacity is helping to identify cases of COVID-19 and support efforts to contain and limit community spread. Ontario has integrated our laboratory system in a way that the province had never done before. Ontario is now a leader in Canada in daily testing volumes per capita.
We’ve enhanced our testing strategy to proactively test several priority groups and expand testing and lab capacity.
On April 30, 2020, the province surpassed its target of 16,000 tests, far exceeding and meeting our target for May 6.
To date (May 3), Ontario has conducted over 342,000 tests with testing results being made available to patients through the user-friendly online portal, developed to help ease pressure on frontline workers and allowing them to focus their efforts on combatting COVID-19.
Testing is being carried out in hospitals, long-term care homes, group homes, shelters, emergency child care centres, and other congregate settings. Once test samples are collected and received from frontline staff, patients, residents and children, labs are providing test results generally within 24 to 48 hours.
On May 2, 2020, the province released updated guidance to the health sector to ensure consistency across the province, and to help guide decision-making on the testing of priority population groups. Still, to ensure the health and well-being of Ontarians we continue to invest in further expanding our COVID testing and to maximize Ontario’s testing capacity.
Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines as of Monday, May 4th
Nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians. Ontario’s public health system has demonstrated remarkable responsiveness to COVID-19, as the outbreak has evolved locally and globally. Every step taken by the province and every effort made by each of us to avoid close contact with others are the key to our success as a province to stop the spread of this virus.
Early last week, we set the conditions and established a roadmap for reopening our province. On Friday, we providing some additional detail, beginning with an approach that recognizes select businesses and operations where physical distancing can be implemented and managed effectively.
By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:
Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up only;
Lawn care and landscaping;
Construction projects, including shipping and logistics, broadband and digital infrastructure, municipal and schools, as well as site preparation for institutional, commercial; industrial or residential development;
Automatic and self-serve car washes;
Car dealerships, open by appointment only; and
Marinas and golf courses will be permitted to begin preparing their operations for the season.
In partnership with Ontario’s health and safety associations, we have developed more than 60 guidelines in response to COVID-19. These sector specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.
As we move forward with next steps, we will ensure that we are continuing to closely monitor virus spread and containment so that we do not spark a sudden outbreak, undo the progress we have made and put the safety of the public at risk.
In flattening the curve, Ontarians have demonstrated their strength and community spirit and we are relying on them to continue to follow public health measures like physical distancing so that we don’t lose the progress that we have made as a province in fighting COVD-19.
Enhanced Worker Safety
As we work towards reopening the economy, the health and safety of Ontario’s workers continues to be our government’s top priority. To assist employers in their responsibility to provide safe and healthy work environments, we are providing specific guidelines to numerous sectors.
These guidelines offer practical advice to help businesses operate safely in our new environment. While the vast majority of employers do the right thing and ensure that their workplace is safe and clean, we know that there are some bad actors. That is why we are also adding 58 new inspectors. We want workers to have confidence that the Government will investigate if they feel unsafe on the job.
By providing clear guidelines on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and adding new inspectors, we are preparing for a responsible reopening of the province that balances health and safety of the people of Ontario. In this unprecedented time, we must not waver in our commitment to protect workers throughout Ontario. Additional measures are being taken to ensure this end. This means: more inspectors, increased phoneline capacity for safety queries, posters, and sector specific guidelines.
Emergency Child Care Expansion
We are expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will benefit people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military.
We are providing emergency child care to more frontline workers because in these unprecedented times, we will do whatever it takes to keep families safe and supported. They are making tremendous sacrifices every day, and we will be there for them every step of the way.
We have established strict guidelines for each centre, and the local Medical Officer of Health must be consulted and supportive of protocols and actions in place. All sites are also required to have a plan/protocol in place in the event that a child, parent or staff member at the site is exposed to COVID-19.
Please visit ontario.ca for more information on eligibility. The full list of open child care centres can be found here.