Mayors debate 'potential' regional reopening
SAUBLE BEACH, ONT. -- There’s no question that most businesses closed due to COVID-19 would like to get back to business.
“We’re eager to reopen, it would be great to be able to reopen, but it has to be done right,” says Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau.
With as many as 80 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario originating from the Greater Toronto Area, regional reopening is now on the table, meaning areas outside of Toronto might get to reopen sooner.
“There’s an indication on the ground at least, potentially a regional reopening could happen, but there’s also risks, that once you open up people start travelling and the virus starts to spread more rapidly, too rapidly,” says Charbonneau.
In Sauble Beach, one of Ontario’s hottest summer destinations, there’s interest in opening up everything, except the one thing that brings people to the area, the beach.
“I think there is something to be said about regionally reopening this area in certain aspects. I think everything except for the beach. We really can’t do anything to chance opening that up and creating up and creating that vulnerability,” says South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson.
The mayor of the Municipality of Brockton, Chris Peabody agrees, saying that he broached the idea of a regional reopening strategy two weeks ago.
“I support keeping the beaches closed. I am concerned about businesses like massage therapists and hairdressers being able to stay in business. People from Toronto wouldn’t come here for those services,” says Peabody.
A regional reopening strategy has not been decided as the path forward, says Premier Doug Ford. It is merely, one of the potential options on the table, to get Ontario moving again.