Windsor-Essex moving to Stage 2 of reopening, except Leamington and Kingsville
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is seen in this photo. (The Canadian Press)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Windsor-Essex will move into Stage 2 of reopening, except for Leamington and Kingsville.
The reopening will be permitted on Thursday. Ford announced Wednesday that cabinet will meet to sign off on the reopening.
Windsor-Essex, which is experiencing several new cases and COVID-19 outbreaks in the agri-farm sector, was held back from advancing during his Monday announcement. The region was the only area in the province stuck in Stage 1.
“We’re going to be able to open up Kingsville and Leamington once these numbers come down,” says Ford.
Ford says there are no travel restrictions between municipalities within Windsor-Essex.
“Well there’s no way of stopping anyone,” says Ford. “We’re just trying to protect the workers and the farmers, that’s where it’s really focused on and not so much the general population.”
Six agri-farm workplaces are in outbreak status, four in Leamington and two in Kingsville.
Ford begged the local farmers on Monday to help by getting their workers tested. He told The Morning Drive on AM800 Wednesday that “now they are cooperating.”
“We’re going into the farms and we’re testing now,” says Ford.
Ford says the numbers are still too high in the Kingsville and Leamington. There were 32 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, with 30 on agri-farms. On Wednesday, there were four new cases, including one in the agricultural sector.
“Let’s see how the testing goes over the next few days,” he added.
The province announced a three-point plan Wednesday to reduce transmission on farms and in the community.
Reactions to the announcement have been divided among officials. Both Kingsville and Leamington mayors expressed their disappointment in being left out of the next phase and have called on the government for relief for local businesses.
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens held a news conference Wednesday where he addressed the areas stuck in Stage 1 saying he would "continue to stand up on behalf of this region and help our partners in the county.“
As for reopening Windsor, he said the pathway to would be "slow and deliberate," but believes there will be line-ups for certain businesses and "excitement" among the business community.
“There will positive momentum, there will be excitement in the community amongst folks who can actually get out and sit on a patio outdoors now," he said. “As long as we do this reasonably and responsibly, we will position ourselves to move to stage 3 at some point in the future."
Dilkens also mentioned he would be speaking with Ontario's minister of health Christine Elliot Wednesday afternoon and deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland Thursday to discuss the "necessary changes to the temporary foreign workers program and what the federal government should to do to protect migrant workers," among other planned meetings this week to regarding the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.