Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Re-opening too soon is risking variant explosion, says Horwath

Published on February 20, 2021

HAMILTON — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to hear the experts’ warnings, and increase public health protections to put the pandemic’s end in sight — rather than cutting protections and opening too fast.

“The exhaustion and isolation people are feeling is painful. We all desperately want this to end,” said Horwath. “But new modelling from Dr. Teresa Tam and the Public Health Agency of Canada has put the threat of the variant into cold, terrifying reality. If we do not do more to stop the spread of the variants, we will face a longer, deeper nightmare and more lockdowns.

“We can end this. We can beat this virus. But Doug Ford’s choice to re-open too soon, including re-opening York Region, is putting politics ahead of public health. People will pay the price for that choice with a longer, deeper, deadlier third wave, driven by the variants.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Dr. Teresa Tam released projections Friday that show the spread of the variants in Canada will skyrocket without more public health measures. Then the Ford government continued re-opening announcements by announcing Friday that York Region will re-open in the Red-Control Zone.

“The virus doesn’t know what side of Steeles Avenue it’s on,” said Horwath.

“If I were premier today, I would strengthen public health measures, not loosen them. I would add paid sick says, a Safe Schools strategy with a class cap of 15, a massive in-workplace testing program, a hiring blitz in long-term care to protect our loved ones from another deadly wave of outbreaks and more.”

Horwath added that she would provide direct funding for small businesses coping with income loss, inside and outside lock-down zones.