Stay-at-home order needs to be stricter: Herron

·2 min read

The Ontario government’s stay-at-home order that begins Thursday needs to have stricter guidelines, says Selwyn Township Coun. Gerry Herron.

“What’s changed? It’s status quo. They haven’t done anything different,” Herron said.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday afternoon, that as of Thursday, non-essential retail stores including hardware and alcohol stores, as well as stores that offer curbside pickup and delivery, can’t open until 7 a.m. and must be closed by 8 p.m.

Employees that must work from home and Ontarians need to stay home and only go out when it’s essential, for example, to pick up groceries or go to a doctor’s appointment.

If the government’s going to implement a lockdown, big-box stores such as Costco and Walmart should be shut down too, Herron said.

“Costco’s allowed to run at 50 per cent capacity, so they have, say, 200 people there, but we can’t have one person in a local, small store? Really? Costco’s closing at eight right now and they don’t open until eight. They’ve given them an extra hour now because they can open at seven if they want. I don’t see the logic in it,” Herron said.

“If they want to keep Costco open, close off everything else except the grocery section. Same applies to Walmart. It’s not fair. They’re killing small business.”

During his announcement, Ford said he’s not going to mess around with big-box stores.

“I’m going to come down on them like an 800-pound gorilla. If they aren’t following the protocols, if they aren’t following the guidelines, if they don’t have 50 per cent only in the stores, there’s going to be consequences for them,” he said.

Ford made it clear that he thinks the lockdown is a lot stricter than the rules prior to and during the holidays.

“When we have a stay-at-home order, that’s pretty serious. That took us five hours last night on cabinet to run through everything. And believe me, we had a pretty healthy debate on it,” he said.

However, Herron said he believes the guidelines attached to the stay-at-home order are sending mixed message.

“They’ve asked you to stay home, but you can go and gather in groups of five. You can go and get curbside pickup, you can go to work … that’s enough to give a man an ice cream headache. This is so confusing,” he said. “What’s the difference between this lockdown now and what happened on Boxing Day? Not much. It’s just a joke.”

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner