Premier Ford provides a COVID-19 update | August 14
Well good afternoon. I had a great day in windsor essex yesterday. Businesses. Are opening their doors. People, are going back to work. Local businesses, and factories, like ford engine plan are making great, ontario, made engines. And face shields. And i know many people across ontario. Are getting back to normal. For many people across the province. A big part of our their regular, routine. Is going to the gym. Because fitness, is more important. For both physical. And mental health. But for the past several months, going to the gym, has not been an option. The risk has been too high. But today. Thanks to the efforts, of everyone in the province. The number, of new cases, is heading in the right direction. The time is right to open up our province, a little more. And help people, get active again. Many of our gyms, and fitness centers, are run by small business owners. They employ hundreds of people. And they are a vital part, of, our local communities. We want to help every business. We can get back on their feet and recover. So on the advice of the chief medical officer of health. And other health experts. We're allowing gyms and recreation, centers to increase their capacity, limits. As of tomorrow, at 1201. A.m. With additional. Public health restrictions. Up to 50 people, will be allowed, per room. With physical distancing, limits in place. These changes, will give our business owners the flexibility. They need. To serve residents. And hire back more workers. Our team has been working around the clock, to make sure sports, and recreation. Can get up and running safely. And as we head towards september. As our kids get ready to go back to school. Whether it's hockey. Soccer, or swimming. We want to get our kids, and amateur, athletes. Back to the sports, they love. Getting these kids on the field. Getting them back on the ice. Is more important. That we get it done. Now. That's why i'm pleased to announce today, our government, is providing, eight million dollars, to the ontario, amateur sports, fund. This funding will ensure these organizations. Can continue, delivering, safe and quality sports programming. For kids and amateur, athletes. As parents head back to work. And students, head back to the classrooms, this september. These changes, and investments. Will help everyone stay safe, active, and healthy. With more, sunny weather on the way this weekend. I want to remind everyone. Please. Keep following, the public health advice. We've been under 100 new cases a day for almost a whole week. Please keep it up practice physical, distancing. Wear a mask when required. And wash your hands frequently. Thank you and god bless the people of ontario. Now i'll hand it over to minister macleod. Thank you premier, for the past, seven weeks i've been visiting heritage, sport tourism.
And Cultural, institutions, across the province. To see firsthand, the health and safety protocols, these businesses. Have put in place, to help stop the spread of covid19. And keep ontarians, safe. Sport and recreation. Is an important driver in ontario's, economy, contributing, more than 12 billion dollars. And thousands, of jobs. To the province's, bottom line. More importantly, these physical and social activities, contribute, to the health and well-being. Of all individuals, and families, across our province. This is critical, as we reopen, more businesses. And people leave their homes, after, being idle for months. Clearly, sport is part of our cultural fabric. Whether we're cheering on our local, ohl, team. Singing our national anthem, after an olympic gold medal. Or celebrating, another win by our toronto raptors. Sports, gives our young athletes, something great to aspire, to, and it rallies, all of us around our flag, and shared ontario, and canadian, identity. It is fitting then that thanks to our collective, hard work. That tomorrow, we are able to expand, capacity. At ontario's, sports and recreational, facilities, to welcome back more athletes. And support small businesses. This means that gyms. Health clubs, community centers, arenas, yoga studios, dance studios. And other fitness facilities, will be able to welcome back. More customers. And of course. More athletes. It is another step we are taking to support athletes to return to play. And in some cases. Prepare them for the podium. This is an important step in ontario's, economic. And social, recovery it's why, we're continuing, to invest, in and work with, our provincial sport organizations. To further develop, safe return to play protocols, that get our amateur athletes. Back on the ice. Back on the court. Or back in the field. As soon as it's safe to do so. The unifying, power of sport is worth investing, in and it's worth protecting. I'll continue, to work and challenge my federal counterparts, to ensure that ontario's, 3.8, million athletes. Receive the proportional, support. They deserve. And we'll work across government. To provide, our sports and recreation, businesses, assurance. That they'll be protected. From added. Pressures, brought on by colvid19. In the meantime, i'll continue to travel the province to reinvigorate. Consumer, support. For our heritage, sport tourism, and culture industries. Okay we'll go to the phone line for questions, just right right before we uh go to uh, questions, i i just want to give a shout out to grocery, hero. They started in toronto four months ago. They helped connect volunteers. With frontline, healthcare, workers. To help pick up groceries, for them and their families because the healthcare workers are working around the clock they're exhausted, the last thing, they want to do is go home and have to, make a meal for, the kids and everyone, so eight thousand canadians, put up their hands. And they've made, four thousand matches. So that's four thousand front line health care workers. Who can focus, on fighting covet, 19, and caring, for patients, so thanks to grocery heroes. You guys are absolute, champions, and that's a true ontario, spirit, and, we'll be, happy to take questions. Okay we'll go to first question. Your first question comes from alex mckeen, with the toronto star please go ahead. Hi alex. Hi, um i think this question is for minister macleod, but i'd be happy to hear from the premier as well, um, i'd like to ask about. You've announced some support, for recreational. Sports. Uh, today. We've also, i'm actually based out of british columbia. And here in bc. The the government has introduced, a measure where, um, uh, they're protecting, amateur, sports, leagues, from. Liability. Should, uh athletes, come and and play sports, and then contract, kovid 19.. I know that there are some, sports leagues that we've heard from in ontario. Who, are, hoping for the same kind of measure to be put into. Place and so that uh. You know these these leagues that might not have that many resources, of their own. Um don't have to, worry about uh. Potentially, being faced with a liability, to reopen during the pandemic. What do you think about that is that something that you're still considering. Doing. Well i'll pass it over to minister but i've i've talked to sports leagues have contacted, me personally, etobicoke, sports leagues where i, live. And they have the the same concerns, i'll pass it over to the minister, do me a favor, say hello to my pal uh premier horgan that guy's a champion out there, guys, absolute, champion.
So. Next time you see him tell him the premier says hi thank you. Thanks very much for the question and thank you premier we are obviously working, for the indemnity, insurance, piece, uh to support our local. Athletic, organizations, across the province. Uh we understand, and recognize, the value, of the british columbia model, unfortunately. In ontario we do have a different situation. Uh as we do not own the the, insurance, organization, as the, as the relationship, is much different, here in ontario as it is in british columbia but i continue to work with our minister of finance as well as our minister, of attorney general, uh to ensure that this will be dealt with in the coming. Months, and and hopefully in the coming weeks and it is certainly a challenge that i've heard from all of our provincial sport organizations. Everyone, from minor, um, minor soccer, to a minor basketball, and others so it's it's an area of concern that we do have and one that we're working on uh trying to uh to fix, um unfortunately, we cannot to simply, emulate the model in british columbia but it is something that we aspire, uh to do. Follow up. I'm all good thank you very much, next question. Your next question comes from cynthia mulligan, with city news, please go ahead, hi cynthia hello premier. How are you. Um, i'd like to talk to you about. The back to school reopening, it feels like we're on round five of this at least by now. Parents are still, really, concerned, and uncertain, of whether they should send their children back to school. I'm just wondering, why because i asked you about this a couple of days, you said you think about it or talk about it with your education, minister. Why you're not following, say denmark's. Protocol. Which was quite a successful, reopening, and they staggered, it very slowly, so the youngest kids first for a few weeks, and then the high school students. Maybe a month later why aren't you. Considering. Or doing that here. Well we are and i'll pass it over to the minister of education, but we are staggering, the opens. Opening and it's going to be up to local, school boards to implement, that, so we're doing exactly that but i'll pass over the minister of education.
Yeah Thank you for the question cynthia. Uh yesterday, i put out a memo to school boards, that essentially, allow them, based on their request, to have a bit more flexibility. When it comes to the reopening, of school. The request, is really to minimize. Having, you know hundreds of students on the first day of class, even though we're staggering, start times and bus times in recess. Uh and, you know the end of the day the, everything is being staggered, classes are being the semestering, is changing in high school, but the bottom line is, uh notwithstanding, that change we've also said to them we're allowing them to stagger the start, for the first week meaning if they want to do kindergarten, grade one on day one, and then introduce. The grade twos and threes and the next day and sort of build that up to friday that is fair and of course we understand the principle behind it which is to minimize, contact. To maintain the integrity of these cohorts as they get into class, so that flexibility, is being provided, and it's also being bolstered. To be fair by additional, investment by unlocking, that 500, million dollars we did yesterday. To reduce those classroom, sizes to increase spacing. And to support ventilation, improvement with because based on the public health available. Research that we have. Air, quality, and flow, is important. And it was in fact one of the top requests, and one of the top. Areas. Of priority made by public health and so we put an additional 50 million in, trying to come up with a main ontario, model given that there's been many challenges around the world in virtually, every reopening, i mean there isn't a democracy, on earth, with some exception, really, that hasn't had challenges, getting children back in and i think that's an admission. That we have to be flexible. We have to be evidence-based. And we have to be listening, and i think what this government has demonstrated, is that we're trying to do that every step of the way each and every week we've been up here, building upon our plan leading the nation and masking i understand nova's coach just put out a masculine policy that follows ontario, we are the only problems the mass from grade 4 and up now they are following that with some, augmentation, to their protocol. The fact is we are leading, with the recognition, there's always more we can and will do and i think the premier has been very clear. That we'll continue to do more based on the evidence based on the signs just to keep these kids safe. But minister with respect. What i'm talking about is a lengthier. Staggering. For example, you know the earlier, grades for two weeks then you assess, if there are any issues that you bring in more grades. My second question. To you though is about class sizes, i know that you are giving.
Boards, Uh the opportunity. To, go into their reserve funds to lower, class sizes with more teachers, and, leasing more space. What will you do though if there are some classes. That remain, in the high numbers. In the 30s for example. What will you do will you, allow, that class, to go forward. We've been clearing our guidance we want one meter of distancing. Supported, by masking, and the other layers of prevention, they've been supported, by public health. What i have also been clear is before the announcement, yesterday. Is this government stood alone in the country and added 30 million dollars for the purpose of hiring more educators. Because we recognize, that may be required, particularly as you noted in some of those classes that may have hard larger class sizes. And what we did yesterday, following the request of many boards in the province. Is unlocking. Cash on hand money that is ready to be spent, our rainy day fund if you will and i would argue. We have this is the realization, of that rainy day we should put that funds to work let's ensure. We do whatever it takes to maximize. That spacing, half a billion dollars, is a massive infusion, of investment, that's going to help those school boards do one of two things, either with more hiring of educators, or with more spacing and then some they're going to do all the above, that's why we provide the latitude, to enable them to do what's right for their community, based on the risk assessment, based on the local health authority, that's going to have an opinion as well but how to maximize, spacing but, the consensus, position from public health, has been you have to do a multitude, of action cynthia and i know i've mentioned this before but it's important to note, that the layers of prevention, that we've introduced. From masking. To testing. To screening, to the unique, addition of public health nurses in our schools. To a hundred million dollar net investment, in cleaning of buses in schools, starting this september a one-time, one-year, infusion, of investment. Altogether. Is a protocol, that is robust, it's comprehensive. And it is fully endorsed, by the most senior medical authority, of our country, of our province. Rather than dr williams the chief medical officer who has said. When asked the question, on safety. That he would not endorse a plan unless it was safe, after all he was the chief medical officer who called me, some months ago in march. To advise, closing them as a matter of precaution, to keep kids safe so we understand. The imperative, we're going to continue to invest and we'll continue to listen to the medical authorities, about how we could do more, and further increa, improve the safety of our schools. Next question. Your next question comes from brian lilliew, with the toronto sun, please go ahead. Hi brian. Hello premier, i i wanted to ask you about a story that cbc, broke, earlier, today. Regarding. Uh, ontario, lottery and gaming corporation, as you know, 15, 000. Workers. In. Casinos, across the province including, many in your own riding. Who work up at woodbine have been, out of work for five months. And, in the middle of this. Olg, paid out a week ago, last friday they paid a, big bonuses. To, their top executives. They're not releasing, how much those bonuses, were. Uh they're not saying how much steven rigby who owns, earns about 765. 000, a year was paid in bonus. But, this is an organization. That hasn't laid off anyone. During covid while 15, 000 workers that they regulate, have been laid off. I'm wondering your reaction to hearing that they're taking. Big bonuses. In, the middle of a pandemic, when a lot of people are just, looking to scrape by, including many of their customers, who buy their products, yeah very very good question, uh brian, so. I was told about this yesterday, i was on the phone with the the chair of olg, this morning. And uh, it just. They're a separate agency. First of all, but. You know something, they, they should have sat around the table in my opinion. And thought this out, i know there was legal ramifications. They they checked with finance to check with legal. And they said well this is for last year's bonuses, before, before covet game came into place but. Again.
The Perception, the reality. Out there, you nailed it there's 15 000 people. Out of work. And the bigwigs, are getting a bonus, like, you got to think these things out guys, you got to be sitting around the table and think, is this prudent to do. Do this and i understand, the legal ramifications. I i was told that yeah the lawsuits, would be flying everywhere. We'll save it maybe this year maybe they should forego a bonus they're making big bucks. You know maybe for goal bonus but i'm going to dig into this deeper i only had a quick conversation. With the chair i'll, talk to the finance, minister, as well. But uh it's just not good. It is not good at all people are struggling, out there, people working at the casinos. When when i was down at windsor yesterday brian the first, question i was getting is about casinos, there's, a couple thousand people that are struggling, can't put food on the table, and they sit back in the television. Radio, news and listen, to these big, big wigs, the fat cats i call them all, making a fortune, 700 and some odd thousand and by the way we're gonna we're gonna get a bonus. Guys, think before you start, giving out all these bonuses. Like give me a break. Like they sometimes they just don't think for all these big smart guys they aren't too freaking smart. Follow up. In premiere. I get what you're saying, uh, but peter deep who is one of your appointees. Is the chair of the board he, he and his fellow board members had to approve this. Your finance, minister. Rod phillips. Oversees, olg. Um. You know despite. All the stories, about. Uh. Stephen rigby. In the news, he remains, in place even though he said he would resign, over. Uh stories about expenses, and different things there's an audit going on. And he's still taking a bonus, even though they. Didn't meet their target, for providing, money to the province, so. Like. Is, are people that you've put in place be it the finance, minister, or peter deep or others, are they protecting, people that are. Are at the top the fat cats as you say because. When you're looking at it from the bottom up it looks like a lot of people feeding at the trough. Well very i'm going to be very very clear. About this, the finance, minister, knows about this he's going to deal with this issue. I, talked to, mr deeb. Today. And i told him how frustrated, i am, about this. His reasoning was he went to legal went to finance. And uh, they they talked to him and said there'll be lawsuits, coming all over the place. But we're gonna have to review this because it's it's unacceptable. In my opinion, now keep in mind brian this is a totally, separate, agency.
That We don't get involved in directly, and it's, similar to the lcbo. Olg. Ocs. A lot of these agencies, but guys, you got to start thinking when you're sitting around the table you got to figure these things out. Believe me i don't hold back on anyone i don't care if it's my grandmother, at the chair. They're getting a tongue lashing simple as that. You know it's it's it's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, brian i agree with you one, thousand percent. This gets, put on my table, yesterday, i address it today. And i'm gonna be on to him like a dog on a bone now. It's uh it's not fair to the 15, 000 people out there. Next question. Your next question comes from randy rath with chch. Tv. Hi randy. Hi premier. Um, between march and july this year, the hamilton, police issued, 369. Tickets to people drinking in parks. There's a big math professor and an infectious, disease, physician. Who says that, that's just not right that it's far safer, for people to be out drinking in parks where they can socially, distance that they're going to drink anyhow but it's better they do it out in a park in a responsible, manner. Than in a home, or or inside, anywhere. And then it also allows, people that don't have outdoor, spaces to go outside, have a beer. What do you think do you agree with that. I don't agree at this point about ticketing, we passed that legislation, we left it up municipalities. If someone. You know someone and their buddy wants to go have a beer. Out in the park and, and they're responsible. The problem i have is when, as i've said in the past a whole bunch of yahoos a thousand people are getting out there going wild. That's a whole different scenario. But i can't agree with i i, can't agree with giving someone a ticket during coven, they're stuck in an apartment. They want to be responsible. They stick to themselves, they're quiet. And, and they have a cold beer. Like. Give us a break, just a little bit of a break. The people of hamilton. I got to stick up for you here like, which i always do by the way, but. You know. Give, they got to be more flexible. Everyone needs a little bit of breathing space, and, go out there and again if you're responsible. And a few of you are sitting down there and you want to have a little glass of wine or a can of beer.
Big, Deal. Who cares, like, if you if you aren't rowdy. You know what's the difference. Randy between. You know. They're they're making it legal to go out and, smoke a joint a doobie. A reef or whatever the heck they call it nowadays. Um. I wouldn't want my kids walking by with a bunch of guys smoking. Cannabis, or, marijuana. But if, a couple of guys are sitting there quietly, on a picnic bench having a cold little beer. Who cares. Like honestly. Uh just it's no big deal, i that's just my personal opinion hamill, hamilton. They'll do what they want him but i gotta protect the people of hamilton. So do you think that the police should simply, look the other way or or should hamilton, mandate, that it's okay to drink it marks, are they are they capable, of doing that, for legislation, yeah randy first full disclosure, i love the police i'm not blaming the police. Blaming. The city council, the mayor give these guys a break. Man they're your constituents. They're they're cooped up in, you know apartment, and sometimes, for for months, and. Where are they going to go. Just stick in their apartment have a beer let them go to the park you have a little bit of flexibility, mayor. You know come on give them a break. Next question. Your next question comes from zara hamod, with. Kenora, miner. And news, please go ahead, hi zora how you doing. I'm good how are you good. Um i was wondering if you were aware, of, red lake 49. The large forest fire that started this week in northwestern, ontario. And i was wondering what the province is doing to support. All those affected, including, those living in the red lake area. We have the ontario management, emergency, team up there we also. Have ministry, of natural, resources, all over it, i had a call the, night it happened at 1 30 in the morning from the minister. And by the way minister rickford has been an absolute champion, up there. I just got off the phone briefly, a real quick conversation. With the mayor i'm going to call him back miramoto. But what do you know what burns me up about this. You know excuse the pun but, these these folks, are struggling, there's there's a fire, at red lake and, and, everyone's, evacuating. So they go to the closest town dryden. And what happens in dryden. They go to comfort inn it's advertised, 100 and whatever, 10 bucks a night. On their website. And then the comfort, and dried and starts gouging these guys they put it up to 400. Dollars. So if i'm not mistaken, comfort inn is a massive franchise, around north america, i got to call headquarters. And, they they better refund, every single because guess what it's the taxpayer. That's paying for this, when we uh. Relocate, people. And here they go the greedy, greedy, people. That want to gouge these desperate, people. And charge them four hundred dollars a night when you're advertising. A hundred, and ten dollars you think that's right. I don't think it's right. They're gouging, the taxpayers, they're gouging, the people. So, you know some whoever the franchisee. Owner is i'm calling headquarters. Gonna tell them get your act together. Then nothing drives me more crazy. Than people taking advantage, of other people and gouging, them, and and just just. Gouging, them it makes me sick. Like guys like how many times do i got to get up here business owners stop gouging, people.
Well They'll be either further consequences. So comfort in. Get your act together. Follow up. Uh how was the. Issue with dried or was uh cut the comfort and then driving brought to your attention. Because i got phone calls saying hey they're advertising. And then i just spoke to the mayor and i said i hear there's gouging up there he goes yeah it's a comfort inn in dryden. That's advertising, 110, dollars a night on online. And they're getting charged four hundred dollars. So that that is just, wrong. Absolutely, wrong. And i just can't believe people have the nerve to do this they just, the goal of them i just can't believe it. Okay last question. Your final question comes from lucas meyer with news talk 1010, please go ahead. Hi lucas. Hi premier, sorry i'm not a little wrong today but, i apologize. But man i just can't stand when these people, are just doing ridiculous, things sorry about that, but go ahead lucas. Uh. Loud and clear premiere uh thank you brian for asking about the ulg, uh, premier. With i did want to get your thoughts on another non-education. Issue the situation, at the brass, rail. Um. You know 500, people. Maybe being exposed. And obviously, contact, tracing going on, uh and the club apparently, cooperating, though our colleagues at cp24. Now reporting some violations. Apparently, in terms of social distancing, contact log tracing. Uh considering, you have to keep community, infections, down so, school things like schools can go does this make you, overly anxious, or, are we bound to have incidents, like this and it's about follow-up. Well it's about follow-up, and we're, going to show how contact, tracing, works we're going to be contacting. Everyone, and, that was over at this, location. And, uh, we're gonna follow up they have to get tested if there's 500, people. You got to practice social distancing, you got to put on a mask i know it sounds ironic, talking about that but, you have to it's like any other business, they're a business we got to treat them like any other business. And maybe we get the health inspectors, to go in and, inspect. But uh. You know. What can i say about that, they you know they got to follow the protocols, that's, that's it stay. You know. Practice social distancing, i know it sounds crazy. Lucas when you're talking about the brass rail but that's. You just got to do it. I feel sorry for the people when they go to their house and tell them that they were at the brass rail that's who i feel sorry for. Sorry for the spouse. Seriously. Man i wouldn't want to be that on the end of that one. I don't know well. It sure is interesting transitioning, back to kids after that premiere but i will. Um, to minister, leche actually i do want to go back to what cynthia was asking before because i'm not sure if that was, made completely, clear so really quite simply two things. If a board, asked you. We need more than a week, like, like let us stagger, you know. For two weeks with a couple of grades and then later on, some other grades. Not just the first week but beyond. Would you be, okay with that and b. Would you be okay, with a, 30. Pupil, classroom. Well we want to ensure distancing. Of at least one meter as per the public health advice we also want to ensure. That the masking, is in place for all students which is why we've imposed that mandate. So i mean the quantum, is. Um. You know sort of not the fundamental, issue it's the distancing, we want to ensure distancing, can be respected, at least one meter, coupled with all the other, the other preventative, measures we put in place. To improve, safety, with respect, to. Um, the question, on start times i've already indicated a flexibility, for the first week, i'm open to working with boards look if this is about public health imperatives, that they believe, it's really important.
To Take a few extra days to restart, the school year stagger the start to reduce, the volume of kids coming into those schools. I'm going to work with them in you know in the partnership, of keeping the kids safe, and i've already indicated. In fact we've already confirmed, to boards via, a memo last week, or rather yesterday, to that we would do that specifically, the first week i'll work with boards if they think they need a tad more time i know that there's an overall broader, imperative. To get kids back into class, so we know that for their wellness and their development, and their mental health, but we're going to be flexible, we're going to be reasonable, and we're going to be evidence-based, according to the public health recommendations. To make sure that we do this safely we do this right in september. Okay thank you thank you, thanks everyone have a great weekend stay, safe. You.