Ford government to implement province-wide lockdown Christmas Eve

Doug Ford Ontario Premier Doug Ford

The Ford government will impose a province-wide lockdown starting Christmas Eve, according to media reports Sunday.

A 28-day lockdown for all areas south of Sudbury will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Christmas Eve. At the same time, a 14-day lockdown will occur in northern parts of the province. The lockdown will resemble the March shutdown with all non-essential businesses shuttered. It is expected that schools will also close for two to four weeks after the holiday ends Jan. 4. Niagara school boards warned of the possibility last week.

The news was reported Sunday from 680 News in Toronto as well as Global News and CBC News, citing unnamed sources.

Ford is expected to provide details at a press conference on Monday at 1 p.m.

The province reported more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day. In Niagara, new COVID-19 cases balloon on the weekend with 126 new cases reported on Saturday and 92 on Sunday. Niagara region started the week with 35 new cases Monday and ended the week with 54 cases on Friday. The Ford government put the Niagara Region into the red-tier of its COVID-19 response framework as of today (What that means).

In West Niagara, Grimsby has 16 active cases (5.5/10,000), Lincoln has 16 (7/10,000), West Lincoln has 8 (5.7/10,000), and Pelham has 12 (6.7/10,000), Wainfleet has zero cases.

Local reaction to the lockdown news is mixed

Response from West Niagarans and people that read The Bench News Facebook page was mixed. On The Bench News Facebook page, readers respond with their thoughts. Selected reactions are below.

Grimsby councillor Dave Sharpe said: “I don’t think locking down, even full lockdowns, will eliminate the virus. It only slows the spread. So after the lockdown, the numbers rise again and then we need to lockdown again.”

Laura Blaze said: “Feels a lot like guilty until proven innocent. Starting to worry more about the mental state of people forced away from friends and family during the holidays ….not sure what’s worse, the imminent depression or the fear of the virus.”

Christopher Juras said: “I think the Provincials are doing the best they can, better than us armchair generals, perfect no, but better.”

Shannon Fiorantis said: He should have locked it down a long time ago. People just don’t understand and they won’t until one of their family or friends die alone from the virus.

Luis Araujo commented on Doug Ford’s efforts: “I’m not a Ford fan nor did I vote for him but I do think, for the most part, he’s done a fairly good job of handling the impossible task of keeping everyone safe and happy during this pandemic. Blaming Ford for the selfish actions of a small group of individuals only interested in themselves just isn’t right.”

Karen Hopkins Condon wrote about her grandkids: “It’s going to be the Christmas that wasn’t this year. So missing giving my children and grandchildren real hugs. Brings tears to my eyes.”

Kristine Heatherwick said the lockdown should have come sooner: “Ford should have locked all regions down instead of trying to just do localized lock downs. Had he done this we’d be getting a Christmas.”

Nat Pollard commented on the death toll from suicide: “Pleaseeee let people be together in such an important day … TO HEAL …a little, because I promise you the death numbers will go up!! Not from covid but from suicides!”

Susan Chrysler Sibbitt Bogle said she doesn’t think people will cancel anything: “I really don’t think this will change people’s plans. It is only going to put a lot of hardships on the people who have been following the rules.”

Philippa J. Thomas supports the lockdown: “Let’s just rip off the bandage and go full lockdown, everywhere, hope that makes a HUGE difference in the numbers.”

Read more than 60 comments and reactions on via this link.