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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

GNCC Statement on Declaration of State of Emergency

The GNCC regrets the unfavourable development of the COVID-19 situation in the province of Ontario, and the necessity of the declaration of a state of emergency by the provincial government. We believe that the disruption of our economy and the harmful impacts on businesses seen thus far will be nothing compared to those resulting from a virus out of control and an overwhelmed healthcare system. We must do all we can to stave off both this and the toll of human life that will result. The GNCC urges all individuals, businesses, and organizations to comply with the government’s directives and health recommendations.

Previous measures had focused on businesses by restricting capacities, opening, seating, and more. We believe that they have proven ineffective because they did not target individual behaviours. The Premier stated that a significant portion of Ontarians are still not following public health directives. When restricted from restaurants and bars, for example, they gathered in private homes. Regulation of business was unable to curb this behaviour. We hope that the stay-at-home order will effectively target what the Premier has termed the “bad actors” in the province who are undermining the efforts of all those sincerely doing all they can to mitigate the dangers of COVID-19.

Canada and Ontario’s approach to the pandemic has been reactionary, with measures that have largely sought to mitigate the effects already being felt, rather than proactive measures enacted to prevent those to come. Restrictions and lockdowns could have been used as a tool to prevent the virus spreading out of control, rather than a reaction once it had already done so.

Governments should be working as hard on proactive measures as they are on reactive ones, if not harder. We need to improve tracking and tracing and allocate more resources to those health systems who do not have enough to track and trace. We need to deploy reliable rapid testing, particularly at essential workplaces, healthcare facilities, long-term care homes, airports, and border crossings. Finally, it is crucial that the vaccine rollout be massively accelerated. At the present pace, Canada will not even come close to its target by September.

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