Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford says extending Ontario’s lockdown was a difficult, but necessary decision after an influx of COVID-19 cases in the area.

“There’s been a series of meetings and some difficult decisions to be made, but our priority was to act in the best interests of people across this province. Here in northwestern Ontario, we saw almost a doubling of our COVID-19 cases over the last two days.”

Rickford adds all Medical Officers in Northern Ontario agreed with the government to extend the region’s lockdown, as our hospitals have limited capacity for an influx of COVID-19 patients.

“I feel for them,” Rickford said, speaking about the impact of the lockdown on small businesses in the area. He says a new campaign to assist businesses with their taxes will be coming out soon, and Ontario is continuing to provide their low hydro rates throughout January to assist to residential and commercial customers.

Rickford notes he’s spending his time at home with his family, and hasn’t left the country.

“Be safe. I am working around the clock to act in people’s best interests. Notwithstanding some of the poor judgement exercised by politicians here in Ontario and across the country to have taken a vacation, I remain here with my family.”

“Stay at home, limit your movement and we’ll come out on the other side of this in a couple of weeks with better numbers.”

As of the time of writing, the Northwestern Health Unit is reporting 36 active cases in their catchment area, including 22 in Kenora and 14 in Rainy River. Ontario reported a record-high 4,200 new cases earlier today.

Premier Doug Ford is asking all residents to continue to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, and essential retailers will continue to remain open with 50 per cent capacity limits. Non-essential retailers will remain open with curbside pickup and delivery only.

Indoor public events and social gatherings will continue to be restricted, except with members of the same household. Those who live alone can have exclusive contact with one other household.

Restaurants and bars will only be able to operate by take-out, drive-through or delivery only. Non-essential surgeries have been postponed.

All employers are asked to make every effort to allow employees to work from home during this time. A new grant has also been made available for businesses with less than 100 employees who are affected by these measures.

For more information:
Northern Ontario COVID-19 lockdown extended