CK officials hope the economy stays open for good this time

( file photo by Adelle Loiselle)

The COVID-19 numbers in Chatham-Kent are looking good just in time for Step 1 of Ontario’s reopening on Friday.

Chatham-Kent Public Health reported 14 active cases on Wednesday, three fewer than the previous day and two residents in the Chatham hospital from four on Tuesday. There are currently zero COVID-19 outbreaks as well.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance reported zero COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), something that hasn’t been seen in several weeks, and the ICU is at 20 per cent occupancy.

Mayor Darrin Canniff announced on Wednesday during an interview on CK Mornings with Chris, Jenn, and Matt on 94.3 CKSY that the Beach Bus will start running on Saturday. He said the bus will make four runs to Mitchell’s Bay and four runs to Erieau every Saturday and additional trips every long weekend.

Mayor Canniff said it’s very exciting for residents but urges people to be patient about sports leagues because the Municipality must follow provincial reopening rules.

“We’re moving forward. I’m really hoping that we can have a reasonably normal summer given our vaccine rates and we just need to continue getting those shots in the arm,” said the mayor.

Campgrounds under the jurisdiction of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority will also open for overnight and transient camping on Friday.

Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said it’s time to reopen and believes this time it’s for good if everyone is careful.

“I’m tired of these restrictions just as much as anyone is. I think it is time. We’re well above the minimum requirements that we need. The numbers are going in the right way but we’ll have to be very vigilant and make sure this doesn’t cause more cases to happen,” said Colby. “We certainly want that lockdown to be the very last one. They’re proceeding slowly and cautiously and I think it’s going to work.”

Officials with the Economic Development and Small Business Centre said they have been working with local businesses to help them understand the process and the rules so they can open safely and smoothly.

Economic Development Services and Community Development Spokesperson Andrew Tompsett said getting the word out about shopping local is also key to their success.

“One of the things our businesses have become even more skilled at over the past 14+ months is being able to pivot as new information comes out. A big piece of this success is that residents are making the choice to shop local – which has been vital for our business communities,” said Tompsett.

Tompsett added free training sessions are also being offered to help businesses navigate their way forward.