January 4 2021
Essential for people to follow public health guidelines while awaiting vaccination
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.
Recognizing the immense complexity of the vaccination project being overseen by the Province, the Mayors and Chairs committed to working with the provincial and federal government on the continued COVID-19 vaccine rollout and to ensure that residents are receiving the vaccine as quickly as possible. As part of their commitment, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are prepared to provide space and resources to the provincial government to help with a timely rollout of the broader vaccination program.
While the Province is wholly responsible for Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are committed to providing any support needed to these efforts. We know that the faster the vaccine is administered, the faster the GTHA can fully reopen with confidence and help spur the province's overall economic recovery.
To that end the Mayors and Chairs requested the Province to make it easier for people to get to the sites currently provided for vaccination and to prepare to assist populations across the region with consistent translation of public information.
The Mayors and Chairs also expect appropriate provincial resources will be made available to local governments to assist in delivering on whatever responsibilities they are assigned by the Province. They also urged the Province to carefully examine the different categories of essential workers so as to be clear in giving direction as to priority vaccination.
They also recognized the need to focus on preventing workplace outbreaks. The Mayors and Chairs continue to urge the provincial and federal governments to provide sick leave benefits for employees who test positive as well as providing for increased workplace inspections to ensure public health compliance.
Pending the province's detailed direction with respect to the availability of vaccinations, the Mayors and Chairs thank the residents who did the right thing over the holidays and stayed home as much as possible. We must collectively use this time to redouble our efforts to follow public health advice to stay home, spend in person time only with the people we live with and maintain good mask-wearing and hygiene habits.
“As COVID-19 vaccination roll-out is based on the prioritization framework as determined by provincial guidelines, groups from across Hamilton’s health sector continue to work to ensure that vaccines are and will be distributed effectively in our community. While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is a long tunnel and the health of everyone in our community remains at stake. Now is not the time to relax on public health recommendations including restricting all social gatherings to only immediate household members, wearing a mask, physically distancing yourself from others and washing your hands. Please stay home as much as possible – stay home for our families, for our frontline and essential workers, for our health care system, small businesses and for our neighbours.” - Mayor Fred Eisenberger