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COVID-19 Spring Update: Essential Services and Continued Closures in Burlington

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*Please see the media release below issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — April 20, 2020 — The City of Burlington is committed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect its residents and employees. City facilities and park amenities (washrooms, playgrounds, skateparks, etc.) remain closed and staff are focused on providing essential services to the community. City parking lots have also been closed to avoid crowding and encourage residents to stay within their own neighbourhoods.

Roads and Parks

With the arrival of warmer weather, residents will start to see City of Burlington staff begin spring maintenance work in City parks and roads:

  • Street sweeping has begun on arterial roads and crosswalks with residential roads scheduled to begin mid-May
  • Park and roadside litter clean up where needed prior to grass cutting
  • Grass cutting will begin but will not include the usual trimming around trees and other objects
  • Repair work for grass that has been damaged by sidewalk snow plows will begin the week of April 27 with a contractor visiting the sites to fill areas with soil and grass seed

Staff are only doing essential work to maintain City parks, facilities and assets until further notice. Wood chips at the Operations Centre on Harvester Road are not available for pick up during the pandemic and community gardens will remain closed as they have been deemed non-essential by the Provincial government. The City has delayed Community Garden openings until further notice.

To help keep everyone safe during the provincial emergency order, Spencer Smith Park is only available for walk-in traffic. The parking lots are closed and only walking is permitted in Spencer Smith Park, including the Promenade and the Brant Street Pier. Visitors must keep a two-metre distance from other walkers. No other activities are permitted until further notice: no running, no rollerblading and no biking through Spencer Smith Park. This is to reduce the volume of people in Spencer Smith Park and to help walkers maintain physical distancing.

Physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most important steps everyone needs to take. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t move on its own; it needs people to move it. To discourage people from gathering and to help reduce the transmission of the virus, the City of Burlington has closed all vehicular access to our parks. Only walking, jogging, riding a bike or scooter/wheelchair through a park or trail is permitted, except for Spencer Smith Park, where only walking is allowed. Remember to:

  • Keep two metres away from others – about the length of a hockey stick
  • Move to the right on pathways to make room for others to pass safely
  • Carry out your garbage whenever possible

All amenities in our parks have already been closed: please continue to respect the caution tape and keep off playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard areas, tennis and basketball courts. The City has signage and barricades in the entrances of parking lots to block vehicles from parking. Vehicles left in parking lots will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Residents who see groups of five or more people gathering or individuals using outdoor recreational facilities can call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID hotline to file a report at 905-825-4722.

Local enforceable orders include:

  • Closure of places of non-essential businesses
  • Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
  • Closure of public places and establishments
  • Closure of all outdoor recreational amenities and parks

Burlington Transit

As an essential service, Burlington Transit continues to operate on a modified schedule for essential trips only. Essential trips include going to medical appointments and picking up medication or groceries. Extra buses will be added if needed to help protect drivers and allow passengers to practice physical distancing from other riders. Please use the back doors to enter and exit the bus and keep behind the marked area and follow the recommendations of public health professionals. For more information on Burlington Transit, visit www.burlingtontransit.ca.

Parking

Parking enforcement is currently limited to safety-related issues such as fire routes, accessible parking, no parking/stopping areas and blocked areas, including parking lots at Spencer Smith Park, Lowville Park and all other city parks. Time limit restrictions have been relaxed to help those working from home or self-isolating. Parking permits and exemptions are not required until further notice. For more information on parking, visit www.burlington.ca/parking.

Service Burlington

Customer Service staff are available by phone and email for residents’ questions. Online forms can also be submitted via our website. Only in-person services, such as marriage licences, are not available during the pandemic.

The City of Burlington is not issuing marriage licences while City Hall is closed. Residents needing a marriage licence can call Service Burlington two weeks before their intended marriage date and if City Hall has re-opened, will be accommodated as close to their wedding date as possible.

Municipalities issue marriage licenses on behalf of the Province of Ontario. Current legislation requires original signatures and documentation.  City staff have asked the Province to review this legislation and make some interim amendments to allow for electronic signatures and documentation. Staff is also asking the Province to extend the licenses that were issued prior to the COVID-19 shutdown beyond the normal 90-day expiry dates.

In-Home Activities

The best thing residents can do to protect themselves and the community, is stay home. The City of Burlington and its partners have put together a list of activities people of any age can do while staying home at burlington.ca/programming. The list includes:

  • Virtual fitness
  • Free music
  • Ebooks, emagazines and online resources from Burlington Public Library at bpl.on.ca
  • Videos for recreation programming such as games, activities and crafts.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

As the weather gets warmer, we know it will be harder to follow the provincial emergency orders, and the directives from Burlington City Hall. But we must continue to stay apart, and stay in our own neighbourhoods, so we can get through this sooner. Please resist the urge to congregate in groups, stay 6 ft. away from anyone you don’t live with and please stay in your own neighbourhood and local parks for your walks. Walk, don’t stop, and stay off playgrounds, benches and other park amenities. In particular, please do not come downtown to the waterfront where there has been some crowding in Spencer Smith Park and Beachway Park. We have taken extra measures to restrict the use of these areas.

We know how difficult this has been so far for our residents, but it will only get more difficult the longer we have to keep these directives in effect. The longer we stay apart now, the sooner we can safely come together.

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:

*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