First long weekend of stage 3 has Niagara Falls Councillor on edge
It's the first holiday long weekend with Niagara in Stage 3 of the Province's economic recovery plan and that has at least one Niagara Falls City Councillor on edge.
Carolynn Ioannoni says crowd control measures in tourist zones need to work, however, she has doubts regarding efficacy of an ambassador program announced by Mayor Jim Diodati.
The program was established after a video emerged showing large crowds, with few masks and minimal physical distancing, on Clifton Hill, the tourist heart of the municipality.
Under the program, volunteers in yellow, “Crush the Curve" t-shirts will sell masks for $1, remind people to social distance and offer a spray of hand sanitizer.
Ioannoni says at this point, all visitors should be well aware of health and safety rules during the pandemic.
"The time for the education component has come and gone. I’d like to see more of an enforcement component. The residents need to feel safe in their own community and with GO trains beginning this weekend, even more people from other areas of the province will be coming into Niagara."
When asked what her responsibility was as a Council member, Ioannoni indicated that all decisions are coming from the Mayor's Back to Business Recovery Team, another name for the City’s Emergency Management Team, made up of the municipality’s Senior Staff, with the Mayor, the only Council member involved.
The team, she says "is responsible for making decisions for the city right now” and in her opinion have been reacting to problems instead of having solutions in place, prior.
Ioanonni says better measures are needed.
"The residents are taking COVID seriously, now we just need our visitors to take it seriously, because we need our local economy to stay open but we need it to stay open without our residents, who work in the tourism industry getting sick and spreading COVID."