Premier ‘won’t hestitate’ to roll back economy if cases spike

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney address the media on May 20, 2020. Screengrab courtesy Facebook.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will immediately re-institute pandemic guidelines if there is a surge in cases of COVID-19.

During his daily media briefing at Queen’s Park Wednesday afternoon, Ford said he is encouraged by the progress that had been made so far in slowing the spread of the virus, but warned that the government is prepared to act should the numbers spike again.

“We’re watching the trends like a hawk right now. We’re watching the rate of the spread, and we’re watching closely for any sudden surges or flare-ups,” said Ford. “I want to be crystal clear that I’m fully prepared to take every action necessary. If we see things going in the wrong direction, we’ll be fully prepared. We won’t hesitate to roll things back if necessary.”

The province reported 390 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday morning, and 43 new deaths. While the increase marked a 1.7 per cent climb in confirmed cases, there was only one day over the past week on which the number of new daily cases surpassed the 400-mark. Even with the trend being favourable, Ford said his top priority remained the health and well-being of Ontarians.

“We need to be ready for all possible scenarios,” said Ford. “That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant.”

Ford also echoed the recommendation from the federal government that people wear face coverings to protect themselves. Minister of Health Christine Elliott asked people to reserve surgical and N-95 masks for first-responders and health care workers, and suggested using cloth masks that can be washed and reused.

Also, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney laid out a series of recommendations as more people return to using public transit. The recommendations include more frequent deep cleaning of high-traffic areas, the availability of hand sanitizer on all vehicles, and installing Plexiglas dividers between drivers and passengers.

“Ontario’s public transit systems are critical to supporting the economy and getting people where they need to go as the province begins to reopen,” said Mulroney. “We will be working with transit agencies to ensure that public transit can continue to operate safely.”