"We’ve already experienced the consequences of reopening too soon."
In a statement on Thursday, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario called the decision "premature" and claims that it will "prolong the current health system crisis."
"We’ve already experienced the consequences of reopening too soon, yet today’s announcement shows the government hasn’t learned from its past mistakes. Last February, Premier Doug Ford lifted restrictions prematurely causing immense pressure on our health system, resulting in the spring 2021 lockdown – and here we are again a year later,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun.
“The government should wait until kids have been back at school for at least two weeks in order to make a decision that is measured and informed by data.”
Instead, the association is calling on Ford to crack down on measures and keep things locked up for a little longer.
"RNAO urges the government to reverse course and maintain strict public health measures for the next few weeks to alleviate pressures on Ontario’s overworked nurses and a collapsed health system," reads the statement.
"We must improve the conditions so the thousands of Ontarians waiting for other hospital services – including postponed heart and cancer surgeries – start receiving them."
Despite the calls, Doug Ford has stated that the worst of Omicron is over and the province is now in a place where they can start easing restrictions.
“The evidence tells us that the measures we put in place to blunt transmission of Omicron are working,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures. While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”
Ontario is set to move into the first phase of the new reopening plan on January 31, with even more restrictions set to lift on both February 21 and March 14.