Ole Lammers / Edge columnist
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced the province’s third state of emergency, which included a four-week stay-at-home-order, this order has been declared effective as of April 8, 2021. At this junction in the pandemic, forcing people to stay inside their homes may result in detrimental effects to mental health, at minimum benefit for COVID-19 prevention.
With the different variants of COVID-19 spiking, many people are getting worried again at the sight of high numbers, like 59 thousand cases a week, even with in place regulations. A provincial stay-at-home order is not the way to go about it though, as BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, stated “our COVID safety plans work, when we follow them”, the problem is that people do not follow them properly.
This far into the pandemic, many small and large businesses are on their knees, if they have not collapsed already, and right alongside them are the mental health levels of way too many Canadians. Ontario has experienced three state of emergencies, and the cases are still skyrocketing, it is not another stay-at-home order that will help Ontario curb COVID-19 spikes, it is proper enforcement of current regulations.
Toronto-based small business owner, Haley Bogaert, is just one of the many Canadians seeing the unfair restrictions put into place. When Bogaert witnessed a fully crowded Toronto mall after her business has been closed for over 300 days, she had to voice her concerns with a video of the crowded mall attacking the “inconsistencies in measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.”
Thousands of other small business owners are worried for their livelihoods. In Ontario alone, up to 90 thousand businesses are at risk of permanent closure due to COVID-19, that is almost 1 in 5 businesses, this number blows all other provinces out of the park. For example, B.C. only has up to 30 thousand businesses at risk.
Imposing a stay-at-home order is only effective when it is properly enforced, and people are willing to cooperate, otherwise it will have no effect, and only hurt the mental health of cooperating residents, and businesses across the affected area.
With the stay-at-home order already in effect in Ontario, there may be pressure placed upon the BC government to impose a similar order, which will most likely disturb the satisfaction of BC residents. Another alternative plan should be to reinforce current restrictions to cut down on unabiding stragglers, and to not ease them as we head into the vaccination phases.
Ford orders four week Stay-At-Home order – Toronto Sun
COVID-19 daily epidemeoligy update – Canada
COVID-19 BC Update, Mar 11, 2021 – Province of BC
Ontario imposes stay-at-home order – CBC
Small business owner decries ‘unfair’ pandemic restrictions – CTV
Video of crowded mall – Haley Bogaert Face on Instagram
Businesses and jobs at risk due to COVID-19 – CFIB