October brings one of our children’s favourite annual events, Halloween. While not cancelled, we want to ensure that we make the day as happy a day as possible while keeping everyone safe. Simple measures such as avoiding joining groups outside your household, restricting all trick or treating activities to outdoors, maintaining the two-metre rule, wearing a proper mask, and washing your hands frequently, will help curb the spread. Whether handing out or accepting treats, everyone should wear a proper face covering. Traditional costume masks are not considered a substitute. Treats should be bagged and placed out as children arrive so that they can be retrieved to maintain a safe distance. We have come so far, and we cannot let our guard down the availability of a vaccine only months away. I am confident that local residents, especially children, can enjoy this day safely if we pay attention to these simple guidelines.
Meanwhile, Dr. Williams and the Public Health Measures Table continue to review the rate of new cases to make recommendations to our Government. With the anticipated second wave upon us, our community’s actions will be a significant determinator in beating back the numbers. By following the necessary safety practices and strictly avoiding close contact with people outside our personal bubble, we can avoid the shutdowns other regions are experiencing. When you are out supporting our local businesses, work with them to follow these temporary restrictions, for their future, and the prosperity of our community depends on it. We owe it to our families, friends, and our local businesses who are struggling to survive this pandemic. As of Wednesday afternoon, the active COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s region rose to 150, up from 129 on October 15. Close adherence to the latest guidelines at https://ontario.ca/COVID-19 will get us through this second wave.
Testing continues to expand. To book an appointment and find a suitable assessment test centre, please visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-test-and-testing-location-information.
We are also in the middle of rolling out a $70 million influenza vaccination program. The Government has obtained 15 percent more doses than last year and asking for the public’s cooperation in getting vaccinated to help reduce the strain on our health system.
This week our province marked Small Business Week. The pandemic has shown us how much our communities depend on small businesses for everyday needs, but unfortunately, they are amongst the most affected sectors during this pandemic. They are at the forefront of our essential services, having adapted well to meeting public health requirements that allow them to stay open or reopen for us. The Government recognized their importance and dedication by providing $300 million to offset fixed costs such as property taxes and hydro and natural gas bills. Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Singh is building on this support after he recently introduced Bill 213, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, and Bill 215, Main Street Recovery Act. If passed, these bills will implement a host of measures, including requiring energy providers to help reduce costs, support renewable and alternative fuels, providing grants of up to $1,000 to help offset PPE costs, and offset the costs of developing an online presence.
As always, I want to remind everyone to stay safe and protect yourself.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry