Curfew or stay-at-home order?: Peterborough County politicians divided on which approach to take

·3 min read

Some Peterborough County politicians feel that a curfew like Quebec has put in place wouldn’t be effective in Ontario and are pleased Premier Doug Ford didn’t implement one on Tuesday.

Sherry Senis, deputy mayor of Selwyn Township, said she believes a curfew would encourage Ontarians to get out during the hours they’re permitted to, ultimately causing more congestion during the daytime. “So, I think it’s counterproductive,” she said.

Selwyn Township Coun. Gerry Herron said he doesn’t know what a curfew would accomplish. “It’s almost like martial law,” he said.

However, Otonabee-South Monaghan Mayor Joe Taylor said he wouldn’t have been opposed to trying a curfew before enforcing a stay-at-home order.

“To me, the stay-at-home order is more severe than a curfew, so he (Ford) took it one step further,” he said. “But if a significant number of people comply with this, it has to help.”

During his announcement on Tuesday, Ford said the province is making sure that when it comes to enforcement in relation to the stay-at-home order, they’re allowing more police and bylaw officers to implement fines for “bad actors.”

“It’s absolutely critical that people that haven’t been listening — we’re looking at about 30 per cent, that’s where the spread’s happening — I’m just asking those 30 per cent, if you love your grandparents, and I know you do, if you love your parents, your neighbours, your co-workers, please follow the guidelines that we put out there. I just can’t stress it enough,” Ford said.

If Ontarians don’t start to comply with the health and safety protocols in place, Ford said the province is going to see daily case numbers rise to 15,000.

“We’re going to see the numbers that we saw in the modelling. If that isn’t scary enough, I don’t know what is. Those are staggering numbers,” he said.

Because of hospitals in the GTA being inundated with patients, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre started taking in critically ill patients from the GTA last week. On Tuesday, there were also talks of a secondary ICU unit being established to help PRHC accept additional out-of-town patients.

Taylor said Ontarians deserve medical care somewhere in the province. “I really don’t want to see us go to a place where we’re denying people health care because they’re from another region,” he said.

While Senis agreed with Taylor, she said if it comes down to it, she hopes ventilators are given to local patients first.

Since the pandemic began in March, PRHC has had 19 patients with COVID-19 but only three have been admitted to intensive care.

Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: mlentz@peterboroughdaily.com

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner