Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger wary of easing pandemic restrictions to reopen local economy

News Apr 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger is taking a cautious approach to when and how the city will allow businesses to reopen and loosening the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on the public’s activities.

During an online forum hosted by Hamilton Chamber of Commerce president Keanin Loomis on April 17, Eisenberger said the city has yet to create a plan on reopening the economy.

“That will come out of public health recommendations,” said Eisenberger.

As anxious individuals and business owners escalate their calls to government officials to reopen the economy, political leaders are hesitant to identify when the physical distancing rules and state of emergency orders will be lifted.

Hamilton’s publicly-owned facilities remain shuttered until May 25; the mayor declared a state of emergency on April 17 to redeploy staff if necessary, after refusing to make the move earlier. He had said there was no reason to make the declaration because the province had already declared a state of emergency, which has been extended until mid-May.

Eisenberger said it’s difficult to determine when to reopen facilities and businesses, considering the unpredictable path of the coronavirus spread.

“Even the feds and province haven’t come to a determination when and, if when, how,” said Eisenberger. “These are going to be determined by what level of virus is still out there, what kind of testing is out there.”

He said United States President Donald Trump has targeted May 1 as the date to resume normal activities, an idea Eisenberger called “a reach.”

The United States has seen almost 31,000 deaths, and the numbers continue to climb.

Ontario has over 9,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and 478 deaths, while Canada has 31,809 total COVID-19 cases and 1,310 deaths.

In Hamilton, there are 319 total cases and 11 deaths, the majority of them in retirement facilities.

During a recent virtual town hall meeting, Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff are eyeing how the city could reopen.

“When the emergency orders are over, we will start to think about what the next phase of our lives will look like,” he said. “That planning has to start today. As challenging as it was to close down some of those services and programs, I should think it will be even more challenging how we safety and effectively open services.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently said the province is examining how to reopen the provincial economy, but he is “not rushing into this.

“I am zeroed in on the economy,” said Ford. “But we will do it when we are ready to get back on our feet.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said reopening the economy or easing restrictions is still “many weeks” away.

He urged Canadians to be patient and said that for any reopening to occur, there has to be rapid coronavirus testing on a wide scale and extensive contact tracing in place to prevent against a potential second wave of outbreaks.

Eisenberger, along with other political leaders, is cautioning that any return to a pre-coronavirus society is over a year away until a vaccine is ready.

Eisenberger said any reopening strategy will have to be done slowly, such as allowing restaurants and businesses to open but restricting the number of people that can be served. He suggested people may have to be tested before entering businesses or attending large gatherings such as an entertainment venue or sporting facility.

“That may have to continue for some time,” he said. “There are a whole range of things that are possible depending upon the virus spread happening in our community.”

Eisenberger said once public health officials determine that the virus numbers are slowing, he will create a task force composed of stakeholder representatives, including from the chamber, to discuss a “reasonable level” of openness “while still maintaining protection for the public.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger wary of easing pandemic restrictions to reopen local economy

News Apr 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger is taking a cautious approach to when and how the city will allow businesses to reopen and loosening the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on the public’s activities.

During an online forum hosted by Hamilton Chamber of Commerce president Keanin Loomis on April 17, Eisenberger said the city has yet to create a plan on reopening the economy.

“That will come out of public health recommendations,” said Eisenberger.

As anxious individuals and business owners escalate their calls to government officials to reopen the economy, political leaders are hesitant to identify when the physical distancing rules and state of emergency orders will be lifted.

Related Content

Hamilton’s publicly-owned facilities remain shuttered until May 25; the mayor declared a state of emergency on April 17 to redeploy staff if necessary, after refusing to make the move earlier. He had said there was no reason to make the declaration because the province had already declared a state of emergency, which has been extended until mid-May.

Eisenberger said it’s difficult to determine when to reopen facilities and businesses, considering the unpredictable path of the coronavirus spread.

“Even the feds and province haven’t come to a determination when and, if when, how,” said Eisenberger. “These are going to be determined by what level of virus is still out there, what kind of testing is out there.”

He said United States President Donald Trump has targeted May 1 as the date to resume normal activities, an idea Eisenberger called “a reach.”

The United States has seen almost 31,000 deaths, and the numbers continue to climb.

Ontario has over 9,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and 478 deaths, while Canada has 31,809 total COVID-19 cases and 1,310 deaths.

In Hamilton, there are 319 total cases and 11 deaths, the majority of them in retirement facilities.

During a recent virtual town hall meeting, Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff are eyeing how the city could reopen.

“When the emergency orders are over, we will start to think about what the next phase of our lives will look like,” he said. “That planning has to start today. As challenging as it was to close down some of those services and programs, I should think it will be even more challenging how we safety and effectively open services.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently said the province is examining how to reopen the provincial economy, but he is “not rushing into this.

“I am zeroed in on the economy,” said Ford. “But we will do it when we are ready to get back on our feet.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said reopening the economy or easing restrictions is still “many weeks” away.

He urged Canadians to be patient and said that for any reopening to occur, there has to be rapid coronavirus testing on a wide scale and extensive contact tracing in place to prevent against a potential second wave of outbreaks.

Eisenberger, along with other political leaders, is cautioning that any return to a pre-coronavirus society is over a year away until a vaccine is ready.

Eisenberger said any reopening strategy will have to be done slowly, such as allowing restaurants and businesses to open but restricting the number of people that can be served. He suggested people may have to be tested before entering businesses or attending large gatherings such as an entertainment venue or sporting facility.

“That may have to continue for some time,” he said. “There are a whole range of things that are possible depending upon the virus spread happening in our community.”

Eisenberger said once public health officials determine that the virus numbers are slowing, he will create a task force composed of stakeholder representatives, including from the chamber, to discuss a “reasonable level” of openness “while still maintaining protection for the public.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger wary of easing pandemic restrictions to reopen local economy

News Apr 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger is taking a cautious approach to when and how the city will allow businesses to reopen and loosening the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on the public’s activities.

During an online forum hosted by Hamilton Chamber of Commerce president Keanin Loomis on April 17, Eisenberger said the city has yet to create a plan on reopening the economy.

“That will come out of public health recommendations,” said Eisenberger.

As anxious individuals and business owners escalate their calls to government officials to reopen the economy, political leaders are hesitant to identify when the physical distancing rules and state of emergency orders will be lifted.

Related Content

Hamilton’s publicly-owned facilities remain shuttered until May 25; the mayor declared a state of emergency on April 17 to redeploy staff if necessary, after refusing to make the move earlier. He had said there was no reason to make the declaration because the province had already declared a state of emergency, which has been extended until mid-May.

Eisenberger said it’s difficult to determine when to reopen facilities and businesses, considering the unpredictable path of the coronavirus spread.

“Even the feds and province haven’t come to a determination when and, if when, how,” said Eisenberger. “These are going to be determined by what level of virus is still out there, what kind of testing is out there.”

He said United States President Donald Trump has targeted May 1 as the date to resume normal activities, an idea Eisenberger called “a reach.”

The United States has seen almost 31,000 deaths, and the numbers continue to climb.

Ontario has over 9,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and 478 deaths, while Canada has 31,809 total COVID-19 cases and 1,310 deaths.

In Hamilton, there are 319 total cases and 11 deaths, the majority of them in retirement facilities.

During a recent virtual town hall meeting, Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff are eyeing how the city could reopen.

“When the emergency orders are over, we will start to think about what the next phase of our lives will look like,” he said. “That planning has to start today. As challenging as it was to close down some of those services and programs, I should think it will be even more challenging how we safety and effectively open services.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently said the province is examining how to reopen the provincial economy, but he is “not rushing into this.

“I am zeroed in on the economy,” said Ford. “But we will do it when we are ready to get back on our feet.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said reopening the economy or easing restrictions is still “many weeks” away.

He urged Canadians to be patient and said that for any reopening to occur, there has to be rapid coronavirus testing on a wide scale and extensive contact tracing in place to prevent against a potential second wave of outbreaks.

Eisenberger, along with other political leaders, is cautioning that any return to a pre-coronavirus society is over a year away until a vaccine is ready.

Eisenberger said any reopening strategy will have to be done slowly, such as allowing restaurants and businesses to open but restricting the number of people that can be served. He suggested people may have to be tested before entering businesses or attending large gatherings such as an entertainment venue or sporting facility.

“That may have to continue for some time,” he said. “There are a whole range of things that are possible depending upon the virus spread happening in our community.”

Eisenberger said once public health officials determine that the virus numbers are slowing, he will create a task force composed of stakeholder representatives, including from the chamber, to discuss a “reasonable level” of openness “while still maintaining protection for the public.”