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Celebrating Safely During COVID-19

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I was invited to join the amazing Burlington Dads group and their families for an awesome birthday vehicle parade to help celebrate 8 birthdays throughout our community today. It was heartwarming to see the smiles on so many faces as we collectively try to find new ways to share joy and come together at a distance. This is at least the second weekend the Dads have offered the parade and tried to find a meaningful, safe way within the social distancing rules to celebrate birthdays.

This drive-by celebration trend has also been happening all over the world for weeks now, from birthdays to even weddings, and it is a happy sight to see.

So many people participated and cheered us on, and as we drove from one neighbourhood to the next, it demonstrated how truly connected everyone in our city is.

As I arrived at the parking lot to get in the parade line, the number of cars and motorcycles was truly staggering. I immediately saw how logistically challenging this type of event can become, especially when it grows so big.

I spoke to one of our bylaw team who showed up at the event with understandable concerns, and after our conversation I realized the challenges and concerns with an event of this scale, simply because of its size.

Directing the vehicles at the start and safely navigating traffic is not easy, especially in this era of social distancing. We also want to make sure we avoid any unintentional opportunity for sending mixed messages about gatherings.

Everyone was waiting in their vehicles to join the procession, some with their kids along for the ride, so they could wish happy birthday to their friends from a safe distance without stopping.

I want to be sure we can continue to help the people of our community celebrate and share special occasions in a safe and organized way. Sometimes our best intentions and goodwill also need to be balanced with appropriate restrictions.

I will be raising this tomorrow in our daily Emergency Control Group briefing. We will be reviewing these types of events with our bylaw staff and police partners to determine how we can support creative initiatives while ensuring they continue to follow provincial and city emergency orders, bylaws and guidelines for our residents, especially when they can quickly grow in scale.

I will share more details of the outcome of that discussion soon.

— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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 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:

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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