*NOTE: This post was updated with new information on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
**Please see a media release below issued by the City of Burlington.
Burlington, Ont. — April 30, 2020 —Communities all over the world are finding new and unique ways amid the social distancing requirements of COVID19 to celebrate significant milestones, including birthdays, retirements, weddings, health progress and more.
One of these ways is “drive-by” processions. Family and friends drive by the location of their loved ones to wave and offer some cheer from a safe, social distance.
These drive-by celebrations have a small but powerful, positive influence on the participants, the recipients as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods and we need to find a way to support them in a controlled and legal manner.
Some of these have grown significantly in size, duration and frequency.
PROVINCIAL EMERGENCY ORDERS
The province has provided clarification of their emergency orders that a 5-car limit doesn’t apply to drive by parades where people remain in their vehicle and don’t stop and get out. We have updated our guidelines with this new information.
Our interest first and foremost is ensuring the health and safety of our residents, and respecting provincial emergency orders and public health advice.
We appeal to citizens to use good judgement and be reasonable in limiting the size of these events, especially where they occur on local roads connecting many neighbourhoods in our City that are not designed for large processions.
We ask residents to continue to follow the recommended guidelines for these events from public health as follows:
Region of Halton Public Health
Region of Halton Public Health has offered the following guidelines for parades.
These drive-by parades are becoming more common and can be a way to celebrate an event. However, it is important that public health measures continue to be followed during these types of events.
All Halton residents continue to be encouraged to:
- Stay at home as much as possible;
- Only go out for essential reasons;
- Maintain physical distancing; and
- Practice good hand hygiene.
Additional recommendations for parade organizers and participants include:
- Remain in their vehicle during the entire event;
- Do not interact or gather with individuals outside of the vehicles;
- Ensure only household members are in the vehicles;
- Reduce the need for in-person coordination by providing written or telephone directions in advance;
- Limit the distance they are driving;
- Consider limiting the number of vehicles permitted;
- Continue to follow the rules of the road; and
- Follow relevant local regulations with respect to events/parades.
Overall, Halton Region Public Health does not encourage these types of large events right now as they may increase opportunities for transmission of disease and make it difficult for individuals to appropriately follow physical distancing measures. Virtual celebrations via video-conferencing could be encouraged instead.
City of Burlington
The city of Burlington offers the following additional guidelines for parades:
- Alert your neighbours in advance of the planned procession and timing, to the degree possible while maintaining social distancing (for example, providing notice via email, or a neighbourhood Facebook Group);
- Ensure any decorations on a vehicle (ribbons, balloons, stuffed toys) are properly secured;
- Instead of gathering at a centralized location to form a queue, provide a window of time for participants to make their way individually to the location and drive by
- Acknowledging these drive-bys have the potential to draw groups of people outside of their homes, we ask observers to please stay on your own property and two metres away from any neighbour.
Police, Fire, Paramedic
Police, fire and paramedics do not typically participate in community-led parades, in order to focus resources on response to COVID19 emergency matters, though some may support a small number of these events if they can be accommodated without impacting operations.
Police, fire and paramedics do participate in the city’s monthly first responder hospital salutes, the first Friday of each month during the emergency, supervised by police escort.
We encourage our community to continue to find alternative ways to celebrate and come together while staying apart, in adherence with provincial emergency orders and public health advice, such as Zoom parties, or charitable donations in the individual’s name.
The best thing residents can do to protect themselves and the community, is stay home. The City of Burlington and its partners are offering activities people of any age can do while staying home at burlington.ca/activeathome. The list includes:
- Virtual fitness;
- Free music;
- Ebooks, emagazines and online resources from Burlington Public Library at bpl.on.ca; and
- Videos for recreation programming such as games, activities and crafts.
MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:
The drive-by parades have given a lot of joy to people in a creative way, amid the physical distancing restrictions of COVID-19 and at a time when we’ve been unable to socially connect like we used to. I was honoured to participate in one recently.
These parades have been an awesome idea when they’ve been kept to a certain scale — unfortunately, the larger they get, the harder it is to maintain physical distancing and keep health and safety protocols in place. We need to follow the provincial emergency orders and public health advice and keep the size and frequency of these events to a reasonable scale.
Our focus is keeping everyone safe and healthy, and I’m very proud of our residents who are thinking of creative ways to socially connect while doing so.
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:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 903-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.