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Burlington Council Unanimously Approves Extending COVID-19 Related Bylaws to Dec. 31, 2021

Masks BYlaw

At the Burlington City Council meeting on Jan. 19, Council unanimously approved extending the expiry dates to COVID-19 related bylaws (mask and physical distancing) until Dec. 31, 2021.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

Hope is certainly on the horizon with the vaccine to get us all through to the other side of the COVID19 pandemic. For the foreseeable future, additional health measures will still be necessary – washing hands, wearing a mask, staying 6ft apart from anyone we don’t live with.

None of us know for sure when we will be through the pandemic, but based on what we have heard from the Provincial COVID19 Vaccination Task Force, vaccination efforts will take through the spring and summer, and likely into the fall.

We want to be up front with the community about that, and be clear about the need for continued health measures and our bylaws for some months. Council did discuss ending the bylaws sooner, and in the end unanimously voted to extend to the end of December. Certainly, if there is an opportunity based on health evidence and advice from our Medical Officer of Health to lift these bylaws earlier in the year, we will do so.

My own view in supporting this extension till the end of December is that it is better to be up front and honest with our community that we are still in this pandemic for a long period of time, and that it is preferable to be able to lift the regulations early, than dash the hopes of our residents if we had to continually extend the bylaw.

These are tough times, and we know everyone is struggling. I am so grateful to our community for continuing to do your part to keep yourself and those around you healthy.

Keep up the great work, from a grateful mayor and council.

BACKGROUND (From the Staff Report to Council):

City staff recommended to Committee and Council extending the expiry dates of both the Mask (62-2020) and Physical Distancing (17-2020) By-laws until the end of 2021 (currently expire on January 31, 2021).

While it is understood that vaccines for the COVID-19 virus will be available in 2021, it will take many months before the majority of people can obtain the vaccine. It is anticipated that the current Public Health recommendations regarding physical distancing and the wearing of masks will remain in place until such time that the vaccines have been widely distributed and virus levels can be controlled at an acceptable level. For this reason, staff are recommending that the by-laws remain in place.

Should conditions change, the by-laws can be revoked at any time via a motion from Council.

The full staff report is available below under “Related Links.”

STAFF RECOMMENDATION:

Approve the amendment to By-law 62-2020, otherwise known as the “COVID-19 Mask By-law”, to provide an expiry date of December 31, 2021, as attached as Appendix A to building and by-law department report BB-02-21, in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services; and

Approve the amendment to By-law 17-2020, otherwise known as the “COVID-19 Physical Distancing By-law”, to provide an expiry date of December 31, 2021, as attached as Appendix B to building and by-law department report BB-02-21, in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services.

RELATED LINKS:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.

Halton Region has also created a dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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4 thoughts on “Burlington Council Unanimously Approves Extending COVID-19 Related Bylaws to Dec. 31, 2021”

  1. I totally disagree with this approach and if you really want to be transparent and truthful upfront you would also explain this decision and the supporting date that went into it. How do you go from a discussion to relax the restrictions to a unanimous decision to extend for a full year. This makes no sense! I will await a reasonable explanation to this……
    Vince Volpe

    1. Hi Vince, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. All committee and council meetings are live-webcast and the recordings are placed on the City’s website after the fact. You can watch the full discussion on this particular item and how the unanimous decision by Council was made via this link: https://burlingtonpublishing.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=a38ad575-99f2-48a2-9a80-1d7bf3d96405&Agenda=PostMinutes&lang=English&Item=12&Tab=attachments.

  2. I have absolutely no problem at this juncture following protocols or mandated by-laws. However, now that we are approximately 10 months into this pandemic the one thing that I know is that “we don’t know”. So, council passing a by-law that would be in place for the next 11 months seems to be more about optics than science. Short term objectives to meet long term goals applying some level of fluidity is one possible answer. For example, having the rules in place until the vaccine rollout is complete, whenever that is, seems to be reasonable. Then of course there would be a re-evaluation process and new guidelines put in place. I appreciate what you believe to be total transparency for your constituents, but we also require some hope and that seems to be problematic. Burlington and Halton Region, at this time, have continued to be in the “eye of the hurricane”. I think we are headed to the same destination, possibly you could plan the route better. Thanks Mark D

    1. Hi Mark, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. Firstly, thank you for your well-thought out comment and views that were phrased in a respectful manner. Mayor Meed Ward is always open to dialogue and hearing all views from all sides. We all don’t have to agree with each other all the time, but we all have to be respectful and polite. On behalf on the Mayor’s Office, we truly appreciate your comment.

      As the Mayor stated in the post, her own view in supporting this extension until the end of December 2021 is that it’s better to be up front and honest with the community that we’re still in this pandemic for a long period of time, and that it is preferable to be able to lift the regulations early, than dash the hopes of residents if we had to continually extend the bylaw (say in June or September).

      That said, Council wants to be up front with the community and clear about the need for continued health measures and the City’s temporary bylaws for some months. Council did discuss ending the bylaws sooner, and in the end unanimously voted to extend to the end of December. If health evidence emerges and the advice of the Medical Officer of Health is to lift these bylaws earlier in the year, Council will most certainly do so.

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600