Bring Thunder Bay District Out Of Lockdown and back into colour code system

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Many in the local business community of Thunder Bay have serious  concerns with the judgement from the Medical Officer of Health and the lack of support from local leadership regarding the extension of the lockdown in our region.

There has been no evidence linking local businesses to the transmission of COVID in Thunder Bay and yet they are being asked to shoulder the burden of this continued lockdown.  

The support from the people of Thunder bay throughout the pandemic has been incredible and reflects how much we valuelocal business as part of our local identity. But with so many local businesses at risk of closing their doors for good, it’s disappointing not to see that same level of support from local leadership.

The extension of the lockdown in Northern Ontario ignores the COVID-19 Response Framework laid out by the Province and disproportionately punishes all local business.

The colour coded system recognizes regional differences in COVID case numbers and used science to adjust the level of COVID restriction in each region. The colour levels were:

• GREEN – Prevent
• YELLOW – Protect
• ORANGE – Restrict
• RED – Control
• GREY - Lockdown

On Dec. 26th Northern Ontario entered a 2 week lockdown to prepare for a surge in cases after the holidays. Despite M.P.P. Michael Gravelle advocating strongly for our re-opening it fell on deaf ears and the lockdown was extended to match that of Southern Ontario

According to the TBDHU website, as of January 2nd  Thunder Bay’s COVID numbers should have placed us between Yellowand orange… far from Lockdown status. But Thunder Bay’s Medical Officer of Health, Janet DeMille, lobbied the Province to extend the lockdown in Thunder Bay.

Despite low cases numbers and ample hospital capacity, she claims the Health Unit is overwhelmed with the contact tracing efforts her staff need the relief.

This is true. Health Unit Staff have been working tirelessly to keep our community safe and open.

But while her staff are exhausted and burning out, DeMille has repeatedly refused Federal assistance from Minister of Health Patti Hajdu through the Red Cross to give her staff help they’ve needed for months.

Now, to make up for this inaction local businesses are forced to stay closed after an already devastating year.

The reason for the continued lockdown is to give the Health Unit a much-needed break, but the Medical Officer of Health has not accepted the help repeatedly offered by the Federal government.

How can struggling local businesses effectively plan and manage this situation when strategy framework can be arbitrarily abandoned at any time? Our region should be in Orange, not Grey.

And what happens to Thunder Bay` if this lockdown is extended in Southern Ontario?

Thunder Bay has been built on locally owned and operated companies. The more time we spend in Lock Down the more doors we will see permanently close. As members of the Thunder Bay community we have to stand up for our City and the businesses that make Thunder Bay the great City it is. 

We’re asking for your support in calling on our local leaders and health authorities to take ownership of the situation in our regionand back us in returning to the colour coded framework laid out by the province to recognize regional differences and base restrictions on numbers and science.

Thank you for joining us!