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Canada David Staples: Kenney's lockdown is severe but holds out hope for businesses to survive

06:40  25 november  2020
06:40  25 november  2020 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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Another national coronavirus lockdown is a possibility and we have to do what we can to avoid that at all costs, a leading UK scientist has said. Political leaders in the north of England fear harsher measures in their regions could damage local economies and leave some people struggling to survive .

Every business needs capital to run and the question that crosses the mind of every founder/entrepreneur in these difficult times is from where they will get the capital. During this lockdown many businesses have faced hardship to make their business survive in the market.

Jason Kenney wearing a suit and tie: Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the daily COVID-19 update with Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on March 13, 2020. As the pandemic worsens in Alberta this autumn, the premier has been missing in action, says columnist Rob Breakenridge. © Provided by Edmonton Journal Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the daily COVID-19 update with Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on March 13, 2020. As the pandemic worsens in Alberta this autumn, the premier has been missing in action, says columnist Rob Breakenridge.

Two big questions arise from Premier Jason Kenney’s announcement of severe new lockdown measures in Alberta.

First, will the measures keep our hospitals in good working order and our small businesses alive over the next few months?

I’d estimate that’s a 60/40 proposition. The new measures are more likely than not to work. The government at least has targeted the right group of super spreaders: Alberta families getting together in large groups.

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Had I ever thought of getting ready for a crisis! It’ s like the visual impact after watching a movie having got to live it…the fear of what is going to

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short- and long-term public health,” it begins, adding that waiting for But herd immunity is wrongthink to much of the public; they associate it with “letting the virus rip,” and infer that it will involve the bovine culling of an entire demographic.

Second, Kenney suggested during the press conference that we may be close to the end of the pandemic, in large part due to the promise of rapid testing and vaccines. “The end of this terrible time is in sight,” he said.

But can we really count on these things early in 2021?

That is far less certain. It’s dependent on the pace of pandemic science and on the competence of Justin Trudeau’s pandemic team in Ottawa. That team has failed to come through on several medical measures to date, such as closing our borders too late, giving the wrong advice on masks at first, and failing to have personal protective equipment stockpiled. All will be forgiven if they get these next steps right.

Some will argue that Kenney’s incremental approach to Alberta’s new outbreak has been too slow. This is a completely fair criticism.

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Israel has approved a second general lockdown as coronavirus cases surge across the country. The lockdown , which is expected to start Friday afternoon, will see the country return to many of the same severe restrictions of the first lockdown back in April.

Others will insist Kenney still isn’t going far enough. I don’t buy that. These measures are severe, including shutting grades 7-12 in schools for five weeks.

And as Kenney noted, “For the first time in the history of our province we’ve just told people they’re not allowed to have anybody over to their homes and they’re going to be fined if they do.”

Kenney defended his approach to lockdown, which has been slower than other provinces: “I think in the COVID era we’ve somehow lost perspective, throwing around extraordinary exercise-of-government powers, state authority, that are unprecedented. No, we’re not trigger happy to do that. We’re careful and deliberate.”

Earlier this month more than 400 Alberta doctors called for a host of restrictions. They have now got most of the things on their checklist, but not a suspension of indoor activities, such as indoor dining, bars, casinos and religious services. In rejecting that call, Kenney gave a crucial lifeline to small businesses, including restaurants.

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The 3 week old national lockdown has raised atleast two key constitutional concerns and the govt’ s attempt to mitigate its adverse impact on the poor and

“The lockdown has been relaxed considerably in the fourth phase. People will have to internalise that social distancing and personal hygiene are a way of life now. Lockdown will not be imposed ruthlessly like before, but people will be told that is for their safety,” said a senior government official.

At bars, restaurants and pubs, only family cohorts can still sit together, Kenney said, and noted there is far more spread among family members at home than when they are at restaurants.

During the nine months of the pandemic, Kenney said there’s just been 18 outbreaks at 13,000 hospitality businesses, meaning only a minuscule fraction have failed in this regard.

As for the political implications of his measures, Kenney did well to adopt a conciliatory tone in his speech, especially when it came to thanking doctors, nurses and other health-care workers for their extraordinary efforts. It was a wise move, given the anger that still exists over contract showdowns with most health-care groups.

Kenney’s inner pitbull did bark once when he criticized those calling for the most aggressive lockdown measures, such as shutting down restaurants.

“For some it’s a little bit easy to say, ‘Just flick a switch, shut ’em down,’ ” he said.

“I would ask people who have the certainty of a paycheque, particularly a government paycheque, to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses such as that. I would ask them to think about the 175,000 people who work in that industry, disproportionately women.”

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The big political concern for Kenney is whether these measures will a) succeed and b) keep together his party’s coalition of small “c” conservative moderates and often fiery libertarians, with many in the latter group having immense distrust of mask mandates and most lockdown measures.

Kenney predicted that even as he spoke his Facebook page would be flooded with angry people complaining about his lockdown. “To those folks I say this: ‘This is not an abstraction. If you know somebody waiting for surgery … this is about them. It’s not about our political preferences.”

I suspect Kenney’s overall message and actions will satisfy his base, many of whom feared even greater lockdown measures.

My own hope was that Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw would continue to take into account all aspects of public health in their decision, both COVID spread and the health impacts that flow from lockdown, unemployment and bankruptcy, such as mental anguish, isolation and opioid death. Kenney and Hinshaw clearly engaged in that kind of complex and difficult analysis. We’ll now see if they’ve struck the right balance.

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This is interesting!