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GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to fighting COVID-19 resurgence

HAMILTON, ON - Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the resurgence. They noted with serious concern escalating case count numbers in large parts of the region.

The Mayors and Chairs thanked the provincial government for taking action on Friday to reduce restaurant and bar hours based on public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We believe strategic action like this is needed to target hot spots while keeping the vast majority of businesses open across the GTHA.

All the Mayors and Chairs are consulting with their local Medical Officers of Health about what further action should be taken now in light of escalating case counts. A number of municipalities on the call indicated they were seriously considering further restrictions on restaurant capacity as part of a broader concern about the spread of COVID-19 in those settings.

Concern was also expressed about capacity related issues as relates to banquet halls and the desirability of examining this sector from a health and consistency standpoint.

We are committed to working with the provincial government and public health authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities while making sure we do everything we can as municipal governments to help school boards keep schools open and to continue to keep the economy open to the greatest extent possible.

 

Given that every public health action will have an impact on the businesses focused on, the Mayors and Chairs will continue to advocate for financial support from the provincial and federal governments to support businesses who are doing the right thing and complying with public health measures.

 

This includes the need for continued streamlined support for businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector as well as the consideration of possible measures to assist the accommodation sector. The Mayors and Chairs took note of some ideas contained in a resolution of Markham Council.

The Mayors and Chairs believe that investments made to assist the sector will help preserve jobs and businesses, allow for a more robust recovery sooner and will ultimately help in restoring government finances.

They reiterated the paramount importance of maintaining public health as a healthy recovery requires healthy people.

“With a second wave upon us, it is critical community members follow health and safety recommendations from public health experts. We encourage everyone to download the COVID-19 alert app on their smartphone and get a flu shot as soon as possible. These simple steps can help lower our case numbers and avoid a catastrophic second wave. All of us remain the first line of defence against the spread of the virus and with everyone’s cooperation, we can help flatten the curve and get through this together.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger