Statement from Warden Bob Crate on Provincewide Shutdown to combat the spread of COVID-19

Cobourg, ON – December 21, 2020 –  “Today, Premier Doug Ford announced that, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government will impose a Provincewide Shutdown as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 26th. The impacts of the time-limited measures implemented as part of the shutdown will be evaluated throughout 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended. During this time, the current provincial COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused.

The Provincewide Shutdown will put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures designed to help stop the trend of high COVID-19 transmission in communities, preserve health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations and those who care for them, and save lives. This includes restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings to members of the same household. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household. There will be no indoor or outdoor restaurant service except for take-out, drive-thru and delivery. And while curbside pick-up and delivery will be allowed, in-person shopping will be prohibited except for essential stores like grocery stores and pharmacies, where capacity restrictions will be in place.

Recognizing the significant impacts of COVID-19 on the business community, the government has also announced that business owners impacted by new public health measures may be eligible for up to $20,000 through the newly announced Ontario Small Business Support Grant. For more information about the Provincewide Shutdown and the supports being made available to businesses, please visit the Ontario Government’s newsroom. 

In terms of County operations, waste bag tags will continue to be for sale online and at all applicable County and vendor locations. Visitors to the CRCs are asked to maintain physical distancing while on-site and, as an additional precautionary measure in alignment with the transition to lockdown, as of December 29th we will also be asking all visitors to wear a mask at any point when they are outside of their vehicle. 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.

I know the news of this lockdown is difficult to hear as we head into the holidays. Further restrictions add a new layer to the stress and pain that our residents and businesses have been experiencing throughout the uncertainty of this global pandemic.

However, health officials are advising that pervasive action is necessary to halt the escalating community spread we are currently seeing across the province. At home in Northumberland, we continue to observe a trend of increasing positive cases. Our HKPR Health Unit is emphasizing the importance of preventive measures we can each take to help preserve capacity in our health care system and keep our community safe. Local health and community care leaders collaborating through the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland partnership echoed similar messaging in an urgent appeal last week, urging residents of Northumberland to remain vigilant this holiday season with the preventive measures known to reduce spread. This includes staying home whenever you can, maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask as directed and washing your hands frequently. It also means celebrating the holidays with just those in your own household, and virtually with everyone else.

As we each renew our commitment to prevention as a shared responsibility, news last week of the arrival of the vaccine in Ontario and its initial distribution to front-line health care workers is a light at the end of this long tunnel. For now, I will echo the message from past-Warden Bob Sanderson in his recent statement to the community, and encourage everyone to continue following the advice of our public health professionals. With each of us doing our part, we will get through this together.”