Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says he is “very concerned” about the future of local businesses as Oshawa and the rest of the province begin a stay-at-home order amidst the ongoing fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The recent state of emergency called by the province, as well as the stay-at-home order means even more restrictions, and the mayor says businesses are frustrated.
“They’ve done everything that is being asked of them, especially smaller businesses,” he says, noting they’ve limited the amount of people coming in, trained staff, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in PPE as well as screening, additional cleaning measures, implemented new safety protocols and contact tracing.
Carter says businesses have gone above and beyond to make sure everyone is safe, adding the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force continues to explore ideas and concepts that will be able to assist local businesses, while also helping advocate at all levels of government for assistance.
“We’re going to have to really look at how we’re going to support them,” he says, adding that’s why the Oshawa Loves Local campaign has been such a success.
“We’ve introduced people to businesses, we’ve introduced them to the people that have invested their money here. We’ve introduced them to the uniqueness of their business,” Carter continues, adding it’s important now more than ever to buy local and support local.
While Carter says he’s concerned for businesses, it’s also important to follow the public health guidelines, especially over the next 28 days.
“I’m very concerned as we move forward, but I also understand this is a health emergency and we’ve got to do everything we possibly can to flatten the curve,” Carter continues.
The mayor says the predictions and modelling numbers are “staggering,” and while he says everyone has been doing a great job following the guidelines, now more than ever is the time to be taking this pandemic seriously.
“The city and the residents of Oshawa have done an incredible job of following the guidelines and I’m very proud of our community,” he says. “I’m just hoping and praying that people are taking seriously these steps that are being proposed by the provincial government.”
Carter says he’s worried people are getting “COVID exhausted” and starting to get fatigued.
“That’s when you drop your guard and that’s when problems start.”
He adds residents need to continue to remember to stay within their own bubble and to stay home whenever possible.
The mayor says the city will be taking an inform, educate and enforce approach when it comes to enforcing the new emergency measures set by the province.
“I think the most important thing we have to do as a city is make sure our residents get the proper information in regards to what is allowed, what’s not allowed, and what is expected,” he says, adding health inspectors, law enforcement and bylaw officers will be working collectively to inform, educate, advocate and enforce, if necessary, to be able to get people to follow the guidelines.
“This is not a time to fool around,” he adds. “The numbers are saying, we’ve got to follow these instructions because if not, the virus is going to continue to grow.”