Reopening Ontario — is it too soon?
With the stay at home order set to expire on February 9th, discussion began as to what Doug Ford’s next step will be. Much of the talk seems to center with Ford taking a regional approach to reopening businesses. Areas of Ontario where Covid-19 case numbers are decreasing would slowly reopen. A second option being discussed was to extend the stay at home measures.
As I’ve mentioned before, I understand the need for businesses to return and our economy as well. At this time, though, I believe that it’s too soon.
We’re still hearing stories about Covid-19 cases at OC Transpo, Para Transpo, and other essential workplaces and as individuals. There are ongoing issues with the vaccine rollout and distribution, and now the Covid-19 variants appearing in Ontario.
As a person with a physical disability, I have concerns about being put more at risk once businesses reopen.
Over the past year, we’ve heard countless stories about people and small businesses not following safety measures. Everything from people holding house parties to businesses allowing more than a few customers in at a time.
For a more recent example, when the NCC opened the Rideau Canal this year, they only wanted people living nearby to use it. How many do you think did that?
When it comes to small businesses, some owners wanted special treatment. Also, making sure to mention how the shutdown affected them personally. Call me crazy, but if I had a small business, my first concern would be my customers and making sure they’re safe. If you work in a public space, your focus should be on the general public.
One of my big questions regarding reopening is how will the rules be enforced?
The latest stay at home order has basically been Doug Ford telling us to only go out for essential reasons. That was it. No fines or anything.
What we really needed and still need is a full lockdown.
I know that many of you may disagree with me. I’m thinking about people with disabilities, those who are immunocompromised, and long term care residents and staff that haven’t received the vaccine yet.
Are we expected to just stay home when our city reopens while people with disabilities are once again left behind?
Throughout the pandemic, one of my big concerns continues to be what if one of my caregivers becomes infected with Covid-19? This is not to say it would be the caregiver’s fault for not protecting themselves. It could also happen due to a business not taking proper safety measures or just by being around others choosing not to keep other people safe.
This seems to be a common fear/concern in the PWD community both locally and beyond.
Before parts of Ontario begins to reopen, there needs to be a plan in place for proper enforcement for those not following the guidelines. This includes higher fines and adequate monitoring in public spaces, including businesses both big and small.
I’m not a fan of saying this and there having more of a police presence, but it seems pretty clear to me that many are continuing to ignore the warnings.
The other concern that I have about the regional approach is when people visit from communities that aren’t reopened yet. While I understand the need to escape, they’re putting others potentially at risk.
I know that people are getting tired of the restrictions. So am I and especially those in the PWD community. We’re tired of living in fear and staying home. Many of us feel disabled because of this.
Many in the PWD community are used to being independent, but we’ve had to rely on others, sometimes strangers, for extra help due to the pandemic.
If it were up to me, I’d call for an actual lockdown. Once more people get vaccinated, and we get things under control, then we can start talking about reopening Ontario all at the same time. Without proper planning. I wouldn’t be surprised if the province needs to be shut down again.
In the meantime, I’ll just continue to stay home like a good PWD and hope that someone at some point offers me a Covid-19 vaccine.
That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?
*Please take note that upon submitting your comment the team at OLM will need to verify it before it shows up below.