COVID-19 Update for April 6, 2020 – 2:00pm
After a day off, Premier Doug Ford returned to his regular early afternoon news conference to update on the province’s COVID-19 response. Top priorities today were the ongoing effort to obtain protective equipment – mostly masks – for health care professionals, and funding for parents.
Supplies are Strained
Ford confirmed that supplies of masks are getting low, re-emphasizing the importance of Ontarians staying at home to limit the spread of the virus (and the increase in demand for masks it entails). While sourcing new supplies of masks is a high priority and Ford said progress is being made, he acknowledged that the United States stopping a shipment of three million masks from crossing into Canada is straining Ontario, calling it a “hard truth” but expressing some optimism the blockade will be lifted. Ford noted that U.S. Ambassador to Canada Robert Lighthizer called him on Sunday and they had a productive conversation, resulting in Ontario getting approval for 500,000 masks out of the three million, with the shipment being expected in the next few days.
The Premier said he is feeling more confident about the situation and that all levels of government have been asking the Trump administration to provide an exemption for Canada from the President’s executive order. He specifically singled out Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland for praise, calling her a “firecracker” in getting movement on this issue and others.
Support for Families Initiative
Premier Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that the application portal for the Support for Families Initiative is now open at www.ontario.ca/supportforfamilies. This benefit provides one-time funding of $200 per child (age 0-12) or $250 per child or youth with special needs (age 0-21).
Ford also thanked teachers today, reiterating that “education must continue” and praising efforts to keep students engaged and learning during the pandemic lockdown.
Ford was asked if he thinks grocery stores should be open over the upcoming Easter holiday weekend to ensure that lines are kept short and food accessible for Ontarians. He said he would consider it and is having his Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Job Creation Vic Fedeli look into the possibility.
If you have any questions about this update please let us know.
The Enterprise Team