TORONTO — Mike Schreiner made the following statement in response to the Premier’s announcement about new restrictions:
“Covid 19 has been a long, hard road, and it’s not over yet.
The Ford government’s tendency to dither and delay has cost us throughout the pandemic and has placed many more at risk.The rapid increase in case counts from yesterday to today show that we are on the steep part of an exponential curve.
I’m relieved the Premier finally listened earlier this week to expanding eligibility for booster shots and free rapid tests, for example, something Ontario Greens have called for consistently for weeks. But why did he wait so long?
I support efforts for a circuit breaker now, but we need to address some critical underlying issues and provide support for people and businesses through these tough times.
For example, missing from Ford’s announcement today was a safe reopening plan for schools in January. Parents and educators want a plan and they deserve to know details in advance.
And we must support small businesses by adding another round of funding to the Small Business Support grant. Too many small businesses are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.
In order for Ontario’s economy to recover from the pandemic, we need our small businesses to have a fighting chance. And that means stepping up supports for them now before it’s too late.
Ontario Greens are also calling for:
- N95 masks to be made available for everyone in high-risk settings, especially those in health care, education, grocery store workers and transit, as well as for people receiving ODSP
- Mandating vaccines for all healthcare and education workers
- Rapid tests to remain free, widely accessible and equitably distributed, not just through LCBOs
- A mass information campaign that #COVIDisAirborne
- Ventilation and air quality upgrades in all congregate settings
- Permanent Paid Sick Days
A clear plan for school reopenings in January
We have the tools available to keep Ontarians safe while avoiding another mass lockdown. Let’s put them to use.”