Ontario Premier Doug Ford has confirmed that he will be “adjusting” the list of essential businesses that the province previously annouced could remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to do everything we can to reduce that list,” Ford said at a press conference on Wednesday, promising further information within a day or so.
He made it clear that maintaining supply chains will be a top priority.
It’s way past due for Doug Ford to trim the fat off his ridiculous “essential business” list. If you can’t eat it, if it’s not essential to daily health and wellness, if it’s not contributing to the PPE shortage etc, it’s time to close the doors. @fordnation Ontario is waiting.
— Jewl*E (@Julez_2440) March 30, 2020
Many residents have been saying that the list, which was released on March 23 and included 74 types of business operations in 19 categories, is longer than it needs to be.
As the public was just instructed to adopt even more social distancing measures to help prevent further spread of the communicable disease, it would make sense to re-assess which businesses we can do without right now — especially those where more than five people could potentially be in close quarters during operation.
426 new cases in Ontario today. It is time to actually close non-essential services @fordnation! Please stop leaving the decision to small business owners who fear losing their livelihood if they close but loosely fit into your “essential services” list. #COVID19Ontario @ONgov
— A.Lee (@ALee03569904) April 1, 2020
People have also pointed out that the wording of the initial essential businesses list is “vague at best,” meaning many who aren’t offering goods and services that are actually necessary for households at this time could potentially stay open.
— AustenLeClerc (@austen_le) March 30, 2020
Many have taken particular issue with Ford’s decision to allow construction projects to continue and sites to remain open despite their notorious lack of sanitization and the large number of workers present at one time.
Leader of the Official Opposition Andrea Horwath on Wednesday penned an open letter asking Ford and his team to review the current list.
She notes in her communication that “Ontario has included some services and businesses on their list of essential services that other provinces have not,” such as car dealerships and construction sites.
And yet he proves his incompetence by allowing most of Ontario to maintain Business as Usual. He needs to shut down all non essential work places and that INCLUDES MOST CONSTRUCTION.. he may appear nicer but he is still a selfish dolt.
— KNugent4118🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 (@knugent4118) March 31, 2020
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa shares Horwath’s sentiment, likewise saying in a press conference on the same day that there should be a reduction in the number and type of businesses permitted to stay open given that COVID-19 cases in the province have now soared above 2,300.