Show me the data: Dr. Paul delivers welcome reprieve from ‘random shutdown rules’

Around the Nation

A column by Tom Van Dusen

A doff of the mask to the Eastern Ontario Medical officer of Health for choosing the common sense approach when implementing further restrictions (effective Monday of this week) to help combat rising Covid-19 numbers in his jurisdiction.
That’s Dr. Paul Roumeliotis and the jurisdiction includes five eastern counties and the City of Cornwall which have experienced relatively lower levels of the virus since it barged onto the scene eight months ago. There’s been an uptick lately, most of the cases in seniors care centres… not in restaurants, bars and fitness clubs for which Dr. Paul points out there’s no incriminating data.

So if there’s no data to back it why target these establishments? Simple logic, eh! Something that hasn’t always been present in the C-19 resistance movement!

It’s the same kind of logical approach from the Ford government that bar and restaurant owners in Ottawa and other provincial hotspots have been looking for as their businesses slowly die on the vine due to another random shutdown. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Premier Doug Ford are now at odds with Watson quietly echoing the rallying cry of city restaurateurs “Show me the data!” and Ford not as quietly calling him a traitor.

“I don’t want to force businesses out of business,” said a sympathetic Dr. Paul in deciding there was a less lethal approach. Restaurants, bars and fitness centres can remain open in the region with restricted numbers, screening, and the rest of the measures which those businesses more than most others have followed religiously since the outset.

It’s called common sense, people! It was one of the first victims of the pandemic as politicians and health higher-ups flayed about looking for high profile actions to mitigate the damage or at least make it appear something was being done. Bars and restaurants were easy targets even though they were Covid protected to the max.

Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis during a Zoom media update.

It’s for the common good, right? The catch is there’s no persuasive documented evidence as Dr. Paul pointed out in his region or anywhere else in the province that these businesses are adding in any substantive way to the rising numbers of cases which, coincidentally, spiked in direct connection to the mad rush on testing.

Open testing for everyone with the slightest symptom was trumpeted by the provincial government as a big part of the solution until facilities became swamped. Now you have to make an appointment and it could take days to get tested, pretty much neutering that process.

Common sense would dictate that most virus transfers occur inside at private functions where people are prancing around unprotected. That’s why Ford and medical authorities have begged average Ontarians to stay apart in situations that can’t be policed such as family gatherings.

That’s all Ford could do… there’s no effective way of policing these functions, hence the focus on leisure businesses even though they’ve implemented all the distancing, masking, sanitizing, protective shielding, tracking and whistling Dixie’ing requirements imaginable… only to be bashed again in the unsubstantiated search for a COVID-spreading culprit.

Because of this unnecessary folly which will go down as one of the biggest bonehead moves ever perpetrated on Ontario society, life has and will continue to change drastically for many of those bar, restaurant, gym and theatre owners the government has shut twice… this time just as many were getting back on their feet. Nor will it ever be the same for the good people who depend on those establishments for their livelihood.

But at least here in the far east we’ve had a reprieve thanks to the common sense approach of Dr. Paul Roumeliotis who no doubt has been added to the premier’s doo-doo list for not playing by the government’s random shutdown rules.

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