The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to us all.

I want you to know, my office is here to help. My team and I have been calling many of you over the past few weeks because your well-being is important to me.

Fortunately, these challenging times are slowly ending. Thank you to our front-line heroes for your tremendous work to keep us safe. Because of you, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are flattening.

Now, we are preparing for the next phase of our response against this global pandemic. Ontario has a plan for a step-by-step process to reopen our province — each step can change based on the health and safety advice provided by Ontario’s chief medical officer. Using this advice, certain businesses are now allowed to reopen.

This approach will include measures like curbside pickups in order to give these businesses time to implement Ontario’s Health and Safety Association’s safety guidelines. Providing time for businesses to adopt our new measures is critical as we continue to reopen Ontario.

These measures will provide direction to make sure employers, employees and customers feel safe. Additional actions are also being taken: we are adding 58 new health and safety inspectors, along with increased phone line capacity for safety inquiries, posters and sector specific guidelines.

For workplace health and safety questions, please contact the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

As we begin returning to work, we will continue to pursue every avenue available to secure personal protective equipment (PPE). To help, I have partnered with the Milton Chamber of Commerce and Centricity360 to launch a local PPE procurement portal.

With it, we are helping businesses and people in Milton connect with those who are able to provide PPE. You can access this portal any time by visiting www.miltonchamber.ca/halton-covid-19-response. We are also accepting non-PPE items like food for donations to local food banks in our community.

Milton has demonstrated its strength and community spirit. Ontario is relying on us to continue to follow public health measures like physical distancing so that we do not lose the progress we have made in our fight against COVD-19.