Statement from Warden Bob Crate on Provincewide Emergency Brake Shutdown to combat COVID-19

Cobourg, ON - April 1, 2021 - “In an effort to curb the third wave of COVID-19 from overwhelming Ontario’s health care system, Premier Doug Ford announced today that, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government will impose a Provincewide ‘Emergency Brake’ Shutdown for at least four weeks, beginning Saturday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m..  

Rationale

In the last ten days, infections of COVID-19 have surged in our province, with record numbers crowding Ontario’s intensive care units. The total number of new confirmed cases in Ontario has exceeded 2,000 every day for over a week, including another 2,557 cases confirmed this morning—the single highest count since mid-January. Public health and infectious disease officials are warning that variants of concern are generating more rapid and widespread transmission and increasing risk. Provincewide measures announced today represent an urgent and essential course correction to halt escalating spread.

Emergency Brake Shutdown details

Under this Shutdown, schools and daycares will remain open, however time-limited public health and workplace safety measures will be imposed on other activities to combat this aggressive virus and save lives. This includes prohibiting all indoor organized public gatherings and limiting outdoor gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gathering with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household. There will be prohibitions on indoor and outdoor dining, personal care services and sports and recreation services, and restrictions will be introduced for retail settings, and for wedding and funeral services and religious services. Full details on measures coming into effect on April 3 under this Shutdown are available on the Government of Ontario's "Ontario Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake" news release.

Also announced today were additional supports for business owners impacted by Shutdown measures, including an extension of the deadline to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to April 7th. More information about supports being made available to businesses is available on the Government of Ontario's "Businesses: Get help with COVID-19 costs" page.

County operations

At this time, the County Emergency Control Group has determined that there will be no additional changes to County programs and services. The processes we currently have in place to protect staff and members of the public are in compliance with the new measures announced by the Province, and will ensure ongoing business continuity as we continue to deliver the essential municipal services on which our community relies. Updates on all County services and facilities will continue to be posted to the COVID-19 section of our website. For information about changes to local municipal services, please continue to visit the website of your local municipality.

Staying safe until full roll-out of vaccines

While we have fortunately not seen the same rate of infection in Northumberland as in harder hit areas of the province, we nevertheless continue to observe a concerning uptick in recent positive cases. The HKPR District Health Unit is emphasizing the importance of continuing with the preventive measures known to reduce spread in order to keep our community safe until widespread vaccination has the opportunity to take hold. This is especially true as we head into the Easter weekend. While normally a time for celebration with family and friends, I am appealing to residents of Northumberland to please stay within your own households this weekend. To protect your loved ones and our broader community, please remain vigilant with preventive measures including—and especially—limiting gatherings. Stay home whenever you can, maintain physical distancing, wear a mask as directed and wash your hands frequently.

I know that, over a year into this pandemic, news of a Shutdown is frustrating to hear. Restrictions and changes have taken a toll on our businesses, our relationships and our physical and mental well-being. As the Premier noted today however, with the increasing risk of death, hospitalization and ICU admissions resulting from rapid spread of the variants of concern, the cost of inaction is simply too high.

By applying this ‘emergency brake’, we will bridge the gap until the mass amounts of vaccine anticipated for delivery arrive in Ontario in the next few weeks. We have done this before and, by working together, we will make it through to the brighter days that lie ahead.”