At the stroke of midnight last Sunday, residents in Ontario’s Peel Region and the City of Toronto woke up to discover that the landscape had radically changed — and it had nothing to do with a heavy snowfall.
Rather, these regions had moved into the dreaded 'Grey Zone' (which fittingly sounds like the title of a Stephen King horror). 'Grey' is the new, politically correct way of saying “Stage 1 lockdown," and under this designation gyms, salons and restaurants have been ordered to shut down.
The timing could not have been any worse given that we are now in the Christmas shopping season, and the burden is heavily placed on small businesses as mega-corporations like Walmart and Costco remain open and bustling!
Interestingly, York Region, situated just north of Toronto, was supposed to go into the Grey Zone, too, but this misery was averted at the eleventh hour.
The residents of York Region likely have York Regional Councillor and Richmond Hill Deputy Mayor Carmine Perrelli to thank for this economic lifeline. Perrelli say he was the sole member on councillor who argued against shutting down the economy to deal with the Wuhan virus.
His rationale was that the lockdown strategy was flawed, and likely made the situation worse for so many people. Perrelli points to spiking rates of depression, suicide and domestic violence, as well as the economic hardships of people losing their jobs and businesses going bankrupt.
Incredibly, Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region's medical officer of health, agreed with Perrelli’s position! So it was at the last minute Ontario Premier Doug Ford was successfully lobbied by York Region not to have their area shutdown like Toronto and Peel.
We recently caught up with Perrelli to get his take on why economic lockdowns are utter folly when it comes to “flattening the curve.”
But while this makes for a good news story for the people of York, Perrelli is worried that the region’s status could change in the days ahead based on political whims. Such is the way of the "new normal."