Barrie-area MPP hoping locals will weigh in on red-grey zone survey that could help steer decision-making

MPP Downey says he's working with the local health unit to move the region back to red

Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte’s Doug Downey is asking for area residents’ two cents on the state of COVID-19 restrictions in the region.

The MPP and Ontario Attorney General is running an online survey through his website, asking residents three things and allowing them to provide feedback. “It helps me understand what my community wants, and helps me to then articulate positions to take to the health table, to take to the various decision-making bodies to say ‘this is what people are looking for and can we give consideration to this type of thing?’ And if there’s a reason why we can go forward then let’s do that, and if there’s not, let’s understand it and understand why,” Downey told Barrie 360.

Downey’s survey asks whether respondents believe Simcoe and Muskoka should be treated separately when it comes to the province’s COVID-19 framework. It goes on to ask whether it would be better to base how many patrons could be inside a restaurant on a percentage of the facility’s capacity, and not a hard-cap of 10 people as stipulated in the red zone framework. A third question surrounds whether extracurricular activities for kids should be permitted to operate under grey as they would in red. The survey also allows for feedback to be provided. Respondents must be willing to give their name, email address, and postal code.

A letter sent out by Downey to a local business owner and shared on social media indicates the MPP is working with the local health unit to have the region returned to the red zone, pointing out three of the key metrics used to determine in which zone a region should sit actually indicate Simcoe-Muskoka should be in the red. Downey indicated there could at least be a revision to how different zones affect business. “People want predictability, consistency, that’s why we have a framework and that is one of the main things that that I’m looking at is making sure that we have some predictability,” he added.

The move from the red zone to the grey after just 13 days from out of the stay-at-home order came from Queen’s Park, based on advice from chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams and local medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner.