Kingsville Mayor ‘Deeply Disappointed’ At Province’s Stage 2 Decision

Wednesday June 24th, 2020

Posted at 8:07pm

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Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos released the following statement regarding Leamington and Kingsville being held back from Stage 2 reopening:

The Town of Kingsville is deeply disappointed to discover Kingsville and Leamington will be held back from entering Stage 2 alongside Windsor and our rural neighbours in Essex County. We regard the decision to leave us in Stage 1 and separating our communities from the rest of the region as divisive and problematic.

The damage is already done, yet we are concerned about the long-term affect it will have our struggling businesses and residents, many of whom have expressed frustration that higher levels of government continue to have a separate set of rules for separate sectors, and feel the needs of our small business community and residents are overlooked.

We recognize that our food supply is essentially important, but “small business” is the lifeline in this community and should not be left with uncertain futures or feel abandoned by their government. With several businesses already left out of qualifying for supports in the initial round, this news is catastrophic.

The surge of cases in the agri-sector can only be solved by all levels of government working together with the farmers, workers and public health agencies. We’ve already seen daily efforts by local mobile teams being deployed and accepted in farms in both Kingsville and Leamington. This collaborative team is providing Covid-19 testing and are completing regular health assessments on the positive and symptomatic agri-food workers.

The Town continues to urge farm and greenhouse owners to engage in widespread testing of their staff, and we will continue to push this critical message.  We have also been working with the Red Cross, Ontario Health and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to identify strategies and solutions to isolation challenges the industry is facing.  A coordinated response is happening, we are addressing this problem together, but our business community is suffering in the meantime.

The continued restrictions of Stage 1 will result in further layoffs and closures, causing irreparable damage to the small businesses and community members in our Town. Opening our region in parts will not contain the spread of the virus; it will only encourage individuals to leave their smaller communities and conduct business elsewhere.

I ask the provincial and federal governments to take immediate action to provide financial relief to businesses in Kingsville and Leamington, who have sacrificed enough and are desperately hanging on.

The Town of Kingsville will continue to work as a support system with our public health agencies, promoting the importance of testing and offering strategic solutions to isolate COVID+ community members, while we get our numbers lowered. But today’s announcement has made it increasingly difficult to look our small business owners and residents in the eye and tell them “we’re in this together.”

To our residents of Kingsville and Leamington, this is an eye-opening day that serves as a strong rally cry for us to share our voices.

As I close, I want to confirm that I have had the opportunity to speak to Premier Ford directly and clearly emphasized how large the stakes are here in our communities if we do not find immediate relief efforts. The Premier has expressed his deepest commitment to see us get through these difficult challenges and acknowledges progress is being made where it needs to be.

There is much work to be done and I can assure you that we will keep pressing forward until all of our governments truly recognize who we are and what our needs are. Together, we will not stop until our communities are safe and back to work.

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