Mississauga mayor pushes for city to be moved into red zone of COVID-19 framework

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie speaks during a press conference on Wednesday. Twitter / @BonnieCrombie

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is pushing for her city to be moved into the red zone of the province’s coronavirus response framework, which would allow for a further loosening of restrictions.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Crombie said case counts in the city have improved since last week.

“I believe this is the right time for Mississauga to move into the red zone, with or without the rest of (Peel Region) so that more of our businesses can reopen,” she said.

“Our small business owners are seeing Mississauga residents — their customers — going into neighbouring cities like Oakville to shop and dine out when our numbers here warrant us being in the red zone, too.”

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Crombie had previously pushed for Mississauga to be moved into the red zone once Peel Region rejoined the province’s COVID-19 response framework and the stay-at-home order was lifted.

However, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, recommended on March 3 that Peel enter grey-lockdown for at least two weeks, which is what the province decided.

That meant non-essential retailers could reopen at 25-per cent capacity, but many restrictions remained in place, including a ban on personal care services and in-person dining at restaurants and bars.

Crombie said at the time that she had confidence in Loh and was disappointed in case trends, which had slightly worsened up to the point of his recommendation. She said she was hopeful that numbers would improve and Mississauga would be able to loosen restrictions further soon.

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And on Wednesday, Crombie was adamant that Mississauga had reached that point.

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Moving to the red zone would allow for larger capacity for retailers, the opening of some personal care services, as well as some limited in-person dining at restaurants and bars.

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All parts of the GTA other than Toronto and Peel Region are currently in the red zone.

Crombie said Peel Region has seen overall cases decline and Mississauga specifically has seen a weekly case rate drop to 63 per 100,000 from 74 per 100,000 last week, and added that the reproductive factor is now below one.

Crombie said even if other parts of Peel aren’t ready to loosen restrictions further, Mississauga should be able to.

“We can no longer afford to be held back just because case numbers in other cities in our region aren’t quite there yet,” Crombie said.

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“Yes, we’re one public health unit, but Mississauga is its own city and its own city government with its own residents and its own businesses. We need a targeted approach.”

Peel Region overall has a weekly case incidence rate of 88 per 100,000, down from 95 last week, Crombie said.

Throughout the pandemic, the province has, for the most part, implemented restrictions on public health units as a whole. (Windsor-Essex was briefly divided last summer.)

Crombie said one of the main arguments for doing that in Peel is that there is too much movement between Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon.

“But the reality is that there is movement between Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Milton. Between Brampton and Vaughan. Between Toronto and Markham,” Crombie said.

Loh said he will express Crombie’s view to the province’s chief medical officer of health.

“I think it will form part of our ongoing conversation and discussion,” Loh said.

“My hope, however, is that the trends continue to remain favourable for all of our municipalities and this decision will be made for us if the numbers do continue in the correct trend.”

Global News reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

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