November 12th, 2020

Horwath calls for circuit breaker and program to pay businesses to be closed

Step One of saving the economy is crushing COVID. Horwath calls for two-week Modified Stage 1

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for circuit-breaker-style targeted and fully funded program in hotspots to stop the skyrocketing COVID-19 infections.

“Step one of saving people’s jobs and the economy is crushing the virus,” said Horwath. “Doug Ford is cancelling public health protections too fast. He’s putting people’s lives and health at risk under the false pretense that it helps businesses.”

Amid record high COVID-19 case counts day after day, Horwath is calling on the province to pay businesses to undergo a targeted two-week Modified Stage 1 circuit-breaker in hotspots only, breaking the chains of transmission and dropping case counts.

Horwath’s call comes as The Toronto Star reveals that Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott lied, claiming their decision to nix pubic health measures was taking expert advice when it was actually overruling that advice. Now, epidemiologists are projecting case counts will reach 2,000 per day next month if the province doesn’t take action now, according to CBC News.

“Mr. Ford and Ms. Elliott lied, and decided to gamble with people’s lives. Now, we are headed towards a public health and economic catastrophe,” said Horwath.

“Ford is caving to political pressure. Meanwhile, many businesses can’t make payroll and stay afloat under these conditions. Ford should be paying businesses that have to temporarily close, not telling them they’re on their own.

“Municipal leaders in Toronto and Peel are trying to fix Ford’s mistakes, but we need a coordinated, logical and funded approach, not a patchwork. Without it, Ford is condemning us to live with COVID longer, and risking this virus spreading into regions that have been relatively safe, so far.”

Some businesses in some regions are now shuttered with no real financial help — like banquet halls — while restaurants and bars have been given conditions that many say set them up for financial failure, with no financial support to backfill the losses.


NDP’s proposed modifications to Stage 1

  • Schools should stay open, capped at 15 per class
  • Restaurants and bars should be open for takeout and delivery, and given provincial funding to support them through the circuit breaker period
  • Small businesses that are non-essential should be given funding to support them through the circuit breaker period
  • Hospitals should continue scheduled surgeries as long as it’s safe – the NDP believes this circuit breaker could prevent surgeries and diagnostics from being cancelled, as they were in the first wave