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Burlington Mayor Meed Ward Declares State of Emergency for City Amid COVID-19

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*Please see below a Statement from Mayor Meed Ward.

Burlington, Ont. — March 21, 2020 — With the support of Council, senior City staff, our Emergency Control Group, and senior staff at Joseph Brant Hospital, I have decided it is time to declare a State of Emergency for Burlington.

The next few days are critical in our ongoing efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and I encourage our residents to continue taking every precaution in protecting yourselves.

Some of you may be asking why now, what has changed over the past few days?

While I thank our many residents who are heeding expert medical advice, we have noticed there is still some complacency in our community around the need to self-isolate, to engage in social distancing and to only go outside for essentials, such as food and medical needs or appointments.

With the end of March break, many people are returning home over the next few days and may need to restock their shelves. I urge these residents to self-isolate in your homes for 14 days and ask family, friends or neighbours to safely drop off supplies for you.

Earlier this week, there was the tragic death of a Milton man. On behalf of Council and the City of Burlington, our hearts go out to his family and we send them, and those who knew him, our deepest condolences. While it is still unknown exactly how he contracted COVID-19, our Halton Region Public Health Department has said there is evidence the virus is spreading through community contact. This increases the urgency around the need for social distancing and self-isolation.

We need to keep each other safe and healthy and must do everything we can to “flatten the curve.”

By declaring a State of Emergency, we want to send the strongest possible message to our community to stay home. Self-isolation means not visiting friends and family, not organizing playdates for your children or pick-up games in our parks and neighbourhoods, and not congregating on the street.

I am also asking all local malls and non-essential businesses to close for the time being.

Our healthcare workers are here to support you all. We need to stay home not only for ourselves and loved ones, but for our medical professionals so that they can continue to be healthy enough to care for the members of our community who do get sick.

Declaring an emergency is a necessary step in the right direction to effectively slow down the spread of this pandemic throughout our city.

I continue to appeal to our residents to resist the urge to hoard. Clearing out your local grocery store of all its frozen and canned foods, and essential supplies is neither necessary nor helpful to others. Take what you need and remember that restocking will happen. I ask anyone who owns or manages an essential service to please consider setting per-person limits on essential items and to ask customers to engage in social distancing while they are shopping in your stores.

I know this has been a trying time for our community and we will likely continue facing these difficult times ahead, but we are all in this together and the only way we will get through this is together.

Sincerely,

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

City of Burlington

QUOTES:

TIM COMMISSO, BURLINGTON CITY MANAGER

“From day one, our emergency response plan has focused on two priority goals; keeping Burlington citizens and City staff safe while minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining our ability to provide essential City services to the community. Today’s emergency declaration by the Mayor fully supports the City’s ability to continue to implement specific COVID-19 related actions and obtain the resources necessary to achieve these goals.”

AMBER RUSHTON, BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND EMERGENCY PLANNING, CEMC, BURLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

“I believe the decisions made today and proactive actions taken will help to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and flatten the curve for all members of our community. I am proud to lead and serve alongside our Emergency Control Group members who continue to strategize daily staff safety efforts, support ongoing critical and essential service delivery and inspire community resilience in the face of adversity. I ask that our community create hope from home as we continue to practice social distancing – an opportunity to be radically present and maintain the health and wellness of our families and loved ones. Remember to show #kindness and have an #openheart as we choose to adopt practices in our homes and neighborhoods, informed by medical professionals.”

ERIC VANDEWALL, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, JOSEPH BRANT HOSPITAL

“Joseph Brant Hospital has taken important measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our patients and visitors as well as our staff, physicians and partners. We have set up isolated areas for immediate screening and care, have reduced program and service offerings, as directed by the Ministry of Health, and are preparing larger clinical areas should the need for greater care arise. All our physicians and staff are prepared for the increased demands and extra infection control precautions that are required during this time.

I applaud Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Council for their leadership in taking this important step today to increase awareness and the importance of everyone practicing social distancing, refraining from all non-essential local travel, and remaining at home. The steps we take together today, can have a positive impact on reducing transmission of COVID-19 in our community.”

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 that will be updated as new information becomes available.

COVID-19 Links and Resources:

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

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

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