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COVID-19: Guelph mayor calls on businesses to not defy shutdown order

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Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie says he is concerned about reports that businesses in the city are considering keeping their doors open in contravention of the provincial shutdown order.

In a statement over the weekend, Guthrie said the city can’t be gambling with the health and safety of residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Guelph mayor calls for community spirit during stay-at-home order

“When we are not all in this together, it just makes it harder and makes it more likely that it will be even longer before we can get back to normal,” he said.

Guthrie pointed to the fact that there are currently Guelphites with COVID-19 in intensive care and on ventilators, and 37 have already died from the disease.

But he said the situation is about people, not about numbers.

“These people are our friends, neighbours, co-workers and family members — and we need to do everything we can to stop this devastating virus,” Guthrie said. “The tough sacrifices we make today could very well save a life tomorrow.”

Read more: Ontario issuing stay-at-home order, declares 3rd state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Ontario government activated its provincewide “emergency brake” for four weeks on April 1 in response to rising COVID-19 cases and strained capacity in hospitals.

A week later, it issued another stay-at-home order and declared a third state of emergency.

The mayor added that he knows repeated shutdowns are incredibly difficult on businesses and employees.

He said he will continue to “fight for businesses assistance” with upper levels of government and work with MP Lloyd Longfield and MPP Mike Schreiner.

“I have fought for businesses from day one, and I will continue to fight for you through the recovery and beyond,” Guthrie said.

Click to play video: COVID-19: Ontario declares 3rd state of emergency

He also urged residents and businesses to not blame the staff at city hall.

Read more: Doctors say staff shortages in Ontario ICUs continue as COVID-19 admissions climb

Guthrie said while the city doesn’t make the rules and enact lockdowns, they have an obligation to implement provincial directives and public health measures.

“Please don’t take your frustrations out on city staff,” Guthrie said. “They have a job to do, and it’s not an easy one, especially during these times.”