Huron-Bruce MPP acknowledges difficulty of latest shutdown for businesses and residents

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson Minister of Government and Community Services. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

With the entire province now in a state of emergency with a stay at home order in effect, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson says we must all respect the measures and help reduce climbing ICU admissions and spread of new COVID variants.

Thompson says the measures announced by Premier Doug Ford yesterday will help the province speed up their vaccination rollout.

“These 4 weeks will allow us to continue to get shots in arms, and all things going well, by the end of this stay at home order, I’m hearing that over 40 percent of all adults in Ontario will have the vaccine, at minimum their first shot.”

Thompson states that locally, she applauds the work done so far by the Huron-Perth and Grey-Bruce Medical Officers of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen and Dr. Ian Arra, and their public health units at local vaccination sites. Thompson says over 25,000 people in Huron-Perth and roughly 33,000 in Grey-Bruce have received a dose of vaccine so far.

Locally, in terms of schools and how safe they are, Thompson says based on what others are saying, she believes they are.

“There’s over 4,800 schools in the province of Ontario, and generally speaking just like the Premier has been talking about, and just like Education Minister Lecce has been talking about and Dr. David Williams, the Chief Medical Officer in Ontario has been talking about, schools are safe.”

Despite this, Toronto and Peel school boards, which are hot spots, moved to online learning as of April 7th, as did the Upper Grand District School Board, which is right next door to Thompson’s riding in Wellington County. Thompson maintains alongside her fellow government officials that it’s best for kids to remain in school if possible.

“In terms of the development of our young people throughout Huron and Bruce, with regards to their progress and education, as well as their mental health, we know they need to be in school. And the students, the students I speak to, they want to be in school, as well.”

Thompson says she realizes how difficult the province’s latest state of emergency and stay at home order is to small businesses. Thompson says she has been happy to see communities rally around small businesses in her area, with people doing all they can to shop local and support main streets. She says the provincial government is doing all they can to echo that support.

“We introduced energy and tax rebates for small businesses, we introduced support for businesses that needed to invest in PPE, and we are rolling out more of the Small Business Support Grants, as well.”

Premier Doug Ford recently claimed the Small Business Support Grants have given over 1.7 billion dollars to help over 120,000 local businesses province wide. Thompson says she’s pleased that a large number of businesses in her riding qualified for those grants. She notes later this month supports will be announced for the hospitality and tourism sector.

With respect to businesses in her area, Thompson says an online program introduced during the earlier stages of the pandemic has helped a lot.

“We also have the Digital Main Street Program. I am absolutely buoyed by the number of small businesses that were able to pivot to make sales online or to accommodate curb side sales.”

One aspect of life that has been effectively erased by the pandemic at large is local sports, with leagues and local organizations province wide completely losing seasons and play time for adults and kids alike. Thompson says she recognizes how difficult that has been and so does the provincial government.

“I can tell you with absolute certainty that our government is looking beyond the framework and what kind of supports are going to be needed to ensure that tradition of community sport and activity continues.”

Thompson notes that the province announced yesterday that in partnership with the federal government, a number of facilities around Ontario, including in Huron/Bruce, are receiving funding for upgrades and renovations. Thompson says that includes the Wingham arena, soccer fields in Walkerton and a trail north of Kincardine among others.

You can see that story in detail here: https://blackburnnews.com/midwestern-ontario/midwestern-ontario-news/2021/04/08/provincial-federal-government-invest-millions-local-community-recreation-projects/