Today, Ontario reported an additional 32 deaths related to COVID-19, and 2983 patients in hospital with COVID-19. On top of that, there are 583 people in intensive care, and 347 people breathing with the help of a ventilator.
I include these statistics in each Community News Update because they provide a factual grounding for where we are at in this pandemic. Whether the numbers are climbing or falling it’s important that we all know what we’re facing. The reality right now is that while we are beginning to see hospitalizations decline, we aren’t out of the woods yet. That means that we still need to be wearing masks when it’s appropriate, and it’s vital that we all get fully vaccinated – including a booster shot.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, since Saturday, there have been protests in Ottawa, and the stories and images we’ve been seeing from our nation’s capital have been nothing short of horrifying.
I must make it clear that I absolutely condemn many of the actions taken by these protestors. The display of swastikas, confederate flags, and other antisemitic, and racist symbols is reprehensible. The defacing of a statue of Terry Fox, and the desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, absolutely unthinkable. The theft of food from a soup kitchen absolutely defies belief.
The truth I see when I look at this protest in Ottawa is that while this is nominally about COVID-19, there is something deeper that we should all be cluing into, and that’s the rise of intolerance, racism, and hate.
So, looking forward, let’s continue to work together to push back against the intolerance, racism, and hatred that we’ve seen in these past few days, and re-double our efforts to operate in an actively anti-racist, and anti-oppressive way.
COVID-19 Restriction Changes
As you likely know, today the COVID-19 restrictions have changed in Ontario. As it stands, we are slated to maintain this new level of restriction until February 21 when they are scheduled to loosen further. As a refresher, here is some of what has changed:
- Social gatherings will be increased to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Sporting events, concert venues and theatres will be able to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.
- Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities will be able to operate with 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as shopping malls, can operate with 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms, can operate with 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Movie theatres, meeting rooms and event spaces can operate with 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks, can operate with 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions, as well as casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments can open at 50 per cent capacity indoors.
- Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies can take place at 50 per cent capacity.
- The province said enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.
Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Tomorrow is the start of Ontario’s 2nd annual Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), and we will wear #showusyourpurple. There must be no shame or stigma about speaking out and asking for help. Tragically, we have seen a rise in eating disorders during this pandemic, and that makes this EDAW more important than ever. We can never let up. We must keep fighting against the stigma, for more support, and awareness.
I’m incredibly proud of the creation of EDAW through my Private Members’ Bill, Bill 61 – and I want to thank everyone who takes the time to get involved.
Toronto’s Gender Equity Strategy Survey
The City of Toronto is currently holding public consultations on its new Gender Equity Strategy. They’ve put together an online survey that you can take to help inform the strategy. They’re inviting women, girls, trans, Two Spirit, and non-binary residents of Toronto to participate.
Click here to fill out the survey.