Lambton’s warden worries the province didn’t act soon enough

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Heather Wright Photo

Lambton’s warden is worried the latest provincial measures will be ‘detrimental’ to the economy.

But Kevin Marriott adds it was past time to try to put a lid on the growing number of people infected by COVID-19.

Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in Ontario for the next 28 days.

And he’s issued a stay-at-home order, which takes effect Thursday. People must stay at home except for essential purposes including going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Warden Marriott says in Lambton – with the number of cases rising daily and nine long term care homes in outbreak, – it’s clear people have not been following the public health guidelines.

In fact, Marriott believes the province should have acted earlier.

“I don’t get why they didn’t do it sooner,” he told The Independent Tuesday.

“They gave into the pressure of having a normal Christmas I don’t think they should have.

“The numbers were spiking, why the heck does Christmas matter for one year?

“It doesn’t feel like people were sticking to the suggestions. I guess like a lot of other things, if there are not consequences, people won’t do the right thing.”

But Marriott is also concerned the province’s actions are “heavy handed. “I think it is going to be an enforcement nightmare,” he says.

“The government feels it is necessary to drive the message home; as long as they can enforce it, it will be effective.”

Marriott knows there are still many people in Lambton who believe the government’s actions are unnecessary – some telling him they don’t believe the virus is real.

But he hopes residents will look at what is happening in Lambton, and recognize the situation is serious and they should do as public health and the province say to help the community get a handle on COVID-19.

“It’s too bad people didn’t listen and take more precautions sooner,” he says.

“You’re seeing (COVID) coming in areas where it didn’t happen last March. When you’re hearing about cases in grocery store employees, that should tell people it’s much more serious than last March…it’s popping up everywhere.”

Marriott says every department in the county is working to provide support during the pandemic. Politicians, when they look at the 2021 budget, hope to make the financial burden easier by keeping any tax increase below the rate of inflation.

Marriott says that is so important as businesses again face silent cash registers as the province tries to get the virus under control.

“For the economy, it was bad enough shutting down once, this time it will be detrimental,” he says.

“I question whether both levels of government have enough money to tie us over for this,” he adds.

Marriott knows this is difficult for residents, saying his own head was spinning after hearing the news today knowing Lambton, and the rest of Ontario, are right back where we started.

“It feels like last March for sure,” he says. “It’s déjà vu.”