- Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is “very close” to lifting “almost all” COVID-related business restrictions.
- The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, has stated that he is reviewing all current public health measures, including mask mandates and the proof of vaccination system.
Premier Doug Ford of Ontario says the province is on track to lift “almost all” COVID-related business restrictions “very soon.”
The premier made the remarks during a press conference on Friday morning. He declared a state of emergency in the province in reply to ongoing protests and blockades sparked by opposition to COVID-19 measures.
Ford acknowledged that many people were angry, but he called for an end to Ottawa’s “illegal occupation” at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.
“There’s no doubt these were the right decisions,” Ford said of his government’s decision to impose COVID-19-fighting measures.
“There’s no doubt they saved lives by preventing our hospitals from collapsing.” As part of our reopening plan, we’re on track to remove almost every business restriction very soon. Dr. Moore told us last week and again yesterday that he is working on a plan that will allow us to eliminate the vaccine passport system.”
On Thursday, Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said that he is reviewing all current public health measures, including mask mandates and the proof of vaccination system.
“We’ll be examining all of them in the coming days and expect to make recommendations to the government as early as next week,” Moore said, referring to Ontario’s improving COVID-19 trends.
Moore stated that Ontarians will have “greater clarity” about the processes that will be implemented as well as the timelines for the removal of “all public health measures.”
Moore and Ford both insisted that the ongoing protests were not influencing their decisions and that they would make them based on the best scientific evidence.
Ford explained, “It’s been a plan that we’ve been working on for months.”
“We’re waiting for Dr. Moore’s recommendations.” I believe we all heard Dr. Moore’s desire to move forward with these measures last week and this week. And once we’ve taken that advice, we’ll present it to the cabinet and make a decision.”
Ford was also questioned about a video that has been circulating online in which the prime minister says over the phone, “We’re pulling these passports; we’re going back to normal.”
“I can’t give you an actual date, but it’ll be very soon,” he says, adding that a removal date could be announced as early as Monday.
The prime minister was asked if this meant he had already made up his mind without waiting for Moore’s recommendation.
Ford denied this, insisting that his remarks were based on Moore’s indications that he intends to recommend the passports be removed.
Ford stated, “I will never, ever negotiate with people who break the law.”
“I base it on science and health.” Dr. Moore has stated unequivocally that it is time to move forward. Dr. Moore’s measures as well as recommendations will be welcomed, and I will continue to work with him to reopen safely and cautiously.”
According to the current government timeline, the majority of public health measures are expected to be lifted by March 14. However, no date has been selected to lift some restrictions, such as masking and proof of vaccination.
According to a prior plan issued in the fall, the government had planned to lift masking and the proof-of-vaccination system by the end of March. After a spike in COVID cases, the plan was shelved.
Moore also hinted on Thursday that the current timeline could be accelerated due to improving COVID-19 trends, though he stressed that the government’s decision on lifting restrictions is final.
More capacity restrictions are expected to be lifted on February 21. All capacity limits will be lifted on March 14, and other changes.
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