Mayor sees streaks of light in the dark days ahead

While frustrating, the shutdown "will bring cases down and vaccinations up and then we'll be in a position to move forward"

As “incredibly frustrating” as the province-wide shutdown being imposed Saturday is for everyone, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says it does have an end game.

Province to impose province-wide lockdown for four weeks, starting Saturday

“In April of last year, we went through something very similar to what I think we’re probably going to have to go through now. And it worked. I mean, let’s not forget, we completely crushed it,” Lehman told Barrie 360.

The difference this time, he says, is we have vaccines to back it up. And we’ve already seen the impact they’re having with infection rates in older populations – which have received the vaccine – in decline. Unfortunately, Lehman says, the variants won the race with vaccinations, so it’s hoped the next four weeks will bring cases down and vaccinations up and we’ll be in a position to move forward.

Mayor Jeff Lehman says there is cause for optimism with more and more vaccinations being administered

And, says Lehman, we should stop wasting time blaming each other for too many vaccines in freezers, which gets thrown at the Ford government, and not enough vaccines, which gets thrown at the Trudeau government. “The fact is we’ve got more vaccines than we expected. And the fact is the vaccine rollout is going very quickly. Neither was perfect, but they are what they are. And now we’re starting to see the kind of vaccination numbers locally, that will hit even the most optimistic timelines.”

COVID-19 vaccinations expanding to pharmacies in Simcoe-Muskoka

What more can we do?

Lehman says get outside.

“Eat lunch at work outside, exercise outside, play outside with your family. If you’re going to talk to your neighbours, do the driveway beers … we know that worked last time [a year ago]. So, the combination of everybody moving outside where transmission is so much less and not gathering inside, especially over Easter, is probably our best chance to bring those cases down.”