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GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage residents to stay home as much as possible

HAMILTON, ON - Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to the COVID-19 resurgence across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs discussed the impact of the current COVID-19 resurgence and the various public health measures put in place to try to stop the spread of the virus. All the Mayors and Chairs are committed to following the advice of public health experts so that we can save lives and keep our communities as healthy as possible.

Despite parts of the region being in different stages, all the Mayors and Chairs agreed that the best advice for all residents was to stay home as much as possible right now and to only leave home for essential reasons – going to work or school, buying essentials, and exercise.

In that regard, the Mayors and Chairs strongly encouraged all their residents to SHOP LOCAL and to support smaller independent businesses. They acknowledge the reality that those same small businesses across the region make 40 per cent or more of their annual sales in the holiday period and given that people are still shopping, then hopefully they will shop local and shop independent.

It was also pointed out that these same small independent businesses are huge supporters of local causes and sports organizations and are a cornerstone of community stability in every part of the region.

The Mayors and Chairs asked people to think carefully about 'region hopping' regardless of the status of any given region with the main emphasis being to stay close to home and shop local.

Areas which are locked down have many small independent businesses which have online shopping available and curbside pickup is an option people are strongly urged to utilize so as to both protect public health and support local business.

Urging people to shop local must be part of a broader examination of ways in which we can help smaller businesses cope with the public health restrictions.

The Mayors and Chairs reiterate their strong recommendation made last week that the federal and provincial government find a way to immediately assure every working person that they will not lose their job or their paycheque if they test positive. We simply cannot have people who are afraid to get tested and who then go to work sick because they don't have any financial backstop. We note there has been no response from either government to last week's recommendation concurred by all of us.

Finally, we are hopeful that on a weekly basis there might be a fulsome provincial presentation which tries to put the reported case count information into some context as a means of assisting the public in understanding the course of the pandemic.

“With the current public health measures in place, I urge residents to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of this virus. Please continue to follow all recommendations including restricting all social gatherings to only immediate household members, wearing a mask, physically distancing yourself from others and washing your hands. I also hope community members will gravitate to purchasing locally-made products this holiday season and continue to support our small businesses and restaurants.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger