With the Ontario government moving forward with Step 1 of the reopening plan later this week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says, given the regional situation, the city should not be waiting weeks to move into Step 2.
Gatineau has been loosening more restrictions (allowing for indoor dining at 50 per cent, for example) and Watson says the province should be reopening regions like Ottawa faster.
However, he says local COVID levels need to continue trending downward.
“If we start to see the numbers going in the wrong direction, then the province may use their emergency brake and shut it down,” Watson told CityNews Ottawa. “So, we have a collective self interest to make sure that this weekend when we open our patios and open the stores, [we do it with] caution and being responsible.”
Ottawa Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches is still hoping to see a very cautious approach to reopening in the city.
She says, with cases of the Delta variant growing, the city needs time to monitor its effects and thinks the provincial government is moving at the right pace.
“We need time to monitor the impact of the changes and focus on what we can do, choosing those lower risk activities outside in groups of 10,” she told CityNews Ottawa. “Smaller is better.”