End-of-year interview: Keep vacations for immediate family, advises Ottawa mayor in year 2 of COVID-19 – Ottawa
What follows is the second of a three-part year-end interview with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. The first component covered his three-term mandate as mayor, while the last component would deal with light rail transport in Ottawa. The interview was filmed in its entirety on Monday, December 13, 2021.
Mayor Jim Watson said this week he hopes 2022 can be “as normal as possible”, even as the end of the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa sees a return of uncertainty and uncertainty. warnings that holiday gatherings will again be smaller.
Watson joined Global News remotely for a year-end interview on Monday to reflect, among other topics, on the second year of COVID-19 in Ottawa.
Since this interview was recorded, Ottawa Public Health has warned of the spread of the Omicron variant crushing contact tracers and has reactivated its mass vaccination campaign with the goal of getting as many booster doses as possible in the arms of the residents.
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Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, already recommended earlier this month to limit gatherings before the holidays.
As Watson acknowledged the need for families to recuperate over the holidays, he told Global News that the second Christmas under COVID-19 should again be a more contained matter.
“We cannot be under siege all the time. We want people to have a good holiday season and Christmas. But you know, it might not be the year to have 25 people coming to your house, maybe save it for your immediate family. These kinds of things make a difference, ”he said.
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In recent days, federal and provincial governments have again been forced to swiftly implement new policies to curb an impending wave of COVID-19, a pattern that has repeated itself over the past 20 months of the pandemic with a variable efficiency.
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Overall, Watson gave the top two levels of government a passing grade for how they handled the final year of the pandemic.
“I think given the circumstances, they did a really good job. No one has a roadmap to follow to deal with a global pandemic, ”he said.
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“It’s easy to criticize governments at all levels saying, ‘You can do it, the computer broke, we didn’t have enough vaccines right away.’ But in general, I think we are doing quite well as a country, province and city.
Locally, Watson said he gave Etches and the town team full credit for administering a mass vaccination campaign over the past year that saw 88% of residents aged five and over. most receive at least one dose and 82% of the eligible population. get both hits.
More than half of Ottawa’s children aged five to 11 are already vaccinated with their initial shots just weeks after becoming eligible.
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Federal and provincial health officials have called Ottawa a “gold standard” for making immunizations work and putting needles in the gun, Watson said.
“I was very, very proud of the Ottawa team’s approach.
Although the rapid spread of the Omicron variant puts much of the country in a difficult but familiar position to start the New Year, Watson is hoping 2022 will bring the excitement back to the city’s main streets amid a lockdown full of Hope of the virus sees workers returning to downtown offices.
He has said in recent weeks that he has been working with Ottawa — Vanier MP Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, to push for federal workers to eventually return to office.
He said it was not only a priority for him economically – given the local businesses that cater to the workforce – but also socially, as ‘cabin fever’ 20 months of remote or hybrid work is taking its toll.
“We don’t want to put anyone’s health at risk, but at the same time, at some point, whether it’s a month, two months or a year away, we’re going to have to start bringing people back to populate downtown. … I hope we can get back to as normal a situation as possible, ”he said.
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