This is an open letter to NOTL and regional council, the medical officer of health and MPP Wayne Gates.
If anyone, as business owners and residents of NOTL, is happy with the revolving shutdown manner with which Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic was handled, read no further.
Hindsight is 50/50. In this instance it has taught us that the current reactive actions and yo-yo remedies just don’t work.
It is killing our economy, attendant business failures and our way of life. To quote Maya Angelou, the late American poet, “If you don’t like something – change it.”
Well, I assume nobody likes a lockdown, so let’s change it. Accordingly, as we are most certainly headed toward a Phase 3 lockdown later in the year, as a result of the oncoming COVID-19 variants which spread much faster and are purportedly more deadly, coupled with the delay in a vaccine plan and site selection, and tourism season.
Another lockdown will be the death knell of more of our local businesses. Therefore until we have the community fully vaccinated, which appears many months away, in addition to the worn out, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands message, we must seriously change direction and move away from the reactive shotgun approach to a new proactive, workable model.
Therefore, I ask the open letter subjects, what is your new plan?
To date we have religiously followed the “one size fits all” federal and provincial guidelines. There is national agreement, however, that they have been a disaster, as, to quote Rick Jorgensen, owner of OLiV Tasting Room: “Small businesses are better equipped than Costco, for example, to manage customer COVID compliance guidelines.”
In the face of these mounting failures, our local officials appear to be tepid in any meaningful pushback. It’s time for more concerted and aggressive actions. Further knee-jerk lockdowns, as referenced above, will kill our town culture. The time for action is now.
Clint Eastwood said, “Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”
Step 1: Reinforce our expectations that NOTL be designated a high-risk spreader hub. As I suggested previously, we have a high concentration of seniors plus we are a tourist trap.
Step 2: In short order establish a proactive, mass vaccination site dedicated to NOTL residents, in preparation for the arrival of our vaccine allotment.
Step 3: Tighten the guidelines and fines for mandatory mask wearing, indoor and outdoors, within NOTL, Old Town as a minimum.
Step 4: Push the government to tighten international travel even further into Canada . Look at other countries’ success stories , e.g. New Zealand, etc.
Step 5. Impress on our government to cancel the “one size fits all” policy and implement a regional / town-specific approach. Move the decision-making to the small-town mayors, residents and business owners level.
These are a smattering of my proposals. You, as our leaders and elected officials, what are your planned changes in direction in preparation for Phase 3? And what would other residents and business owners like to see changed? A timely public response would be appreciated by all.
Release your goal and plan to vaccinate the total population of NOTL.
Will it be a focused, organized and aggressive short timeline window with a single vaccine delivery, at a single mass vaccination site ,sufficient to cover the total population? Or will it be an ad hoc, dribs and drabs vaccine delivery?