I try to be positive as it relates to what I like, support and am a part of in any way.
For instance, I try to focus on and support what is positive relative to the Sault’s downtown and surrounding area and their many good features, including small business.
And when it comes to a favourite amateur sport, I always aim to promote and feature minor hockey and junior hockey in the north, along with the kids who play it and the coaches who mentor the players.
Meantime, coronavirus notwithstanding, I am trying to stay positive.
I am trying to be cognizant of what Ontario Premier Doug Ford is going through and trying to do. Just as I am trying to grasp some of the recommendations that public health units in northeastern Ontario have been making to the provincial government.
But some of the decisions — not all of them — have me shaking my head. And I know that I am not in the minority when it comes to the head shaking as it pertains to northern Ontario.
What gets me is that so many small businesses have had their livelihoods put at risk by those making the lock down decisions relative to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But as small business takes the hit, the big box stores are allowed to carry on.
Then there is the matter of hockey in, this case, the Sault and throughout northeastern Ontario.
Let us zero in on the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League which, at present, is comprised of nine teams that have seen regular season action thus far this season — Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers, Espanola Express, Rayside Balfour Canadians, French River Rapids, Timmins Rock, Cochrane Crunch, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and Hearst Lumberjacks.
Of note, all nine teams are located in northeastern Ontario where there are not many cases of COVID-19.
And very notably, NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca, when speaking to me, confirmed that each and every player who is back with their respective team following the Christmas holiday break has tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.
“We, as a league, made it mandatory that every player on every one of our teams was only allowed back in their respective community (after the Christmas break) if they had tested negative for COVID-19,” Mazzuca said evenly.
“And let me add that all of our active teams have complied with this … and we do not have a single player who is back with their respective team who has tested positive.
“Further to that, all players from out of town have had to adhere to the 14-day quarantine rules as set out by the public health units. And I want to add that many of the out of town players on a number of our teams stayed where they were and did not go home for Christmas,” Mazzuca pointed out.
To be sure, Mazzuca and the NOJHL have been on top of the COVID-19 situation ever since the league’s 2020-2021 regular season began on November 13. And, to be sure, 41 of the league’s 44 scheduled games before Christmas went on as slated — the three that did not were only postponed as precautionary measures and there was not a single positive test for COVID-19 among any player or team member.
But as Ontario has now declared a stay home state of emergency — that, quite clearly does not apply to every business or every employee — the NOJHL, as a junior hockey league, sits idle.
To that end — and as it also applies to small business — I wonder why the Ontario government did not separate the province by regions when it came to this latest form of lock down.
After all, every one of the so-called hot spots as they relate to COVID-19 are in southern Ontario. There is not a public health area of northeastern Ontario that has been declared a hot spot.
So, why lump northeastern Ontario with southern Ontario?
Again, I am trying to stay positive. And as during the first shut down, I will play by the rules that the government has set forth.
But in closing, I do have a question: If the situation was reversed and all of the COVID-19 hot spots were in northern Ontario, would southern Ontario be in a lock down with us?