Today, the Premier announced that Ontario’s municipalities will be entering a province-wide shutdown on Dec. 26. This means we now face additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. These measures take effect here in Burlington and throughout Halton and Ontario at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, December 26th and will remain in effect for a period of 28 days. (Click here for the Province’s media release.)
In the meantime, the restrictions from the Red/Control Level of the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework remain in effect until Dec. 26, 12:01 a.m. Please click this link from Halton Region that helps break down the differences in restrictions between the Red Zone and the Shutdown.
I support additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate that the Province listened to our voices (and those of others) calling for capacity limits based on size, including for big box stores, supermarkets and malls. Essential services will remain open, with restrictions.
What has changed in the last few days is the need to look at health indicators beyond a single public health unit as we have in the past, especially for hospital capacity. We will continue to make decisions based on health evidence, and adapt quickly in light of new information that can change daily, sometimes hourly.
Having recently spoken with the President/CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, we’re supporting communities around us, so it’s critical to bring the numbers down across the entire GTHA region.
It’s also clear the current measures in lockdown/grey areas are not sufficient – their numbers are not coming down. More needs to be done to stop the spread at source. New measures must be effective, enforced and based on health evidence. More must be done to protect long-term care homes, essential workers, and improve workplace safety.
The City of Burlington is an essential service and is prepared to enter the shutdown. Our staff will continue to work from home serving residents, and we have established safety protocols for those staff required to be on site.
Here is how the Provincial shutdown will affect City services and programming: Update on City of Burlington Services, Programs During COVID-19 Province-wide Shutdown.
I remain grateful to our residents and businesses who’ve followed health advice to keep yourselves and others healthy. Your efforts are working, and we will continue to do our part to assist regions around us.
WHAT THE SHUTDOWN MEANS FOR YOU:
We continue to rely on our health officials to guide us.
Our Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region, Dr. Hamidah Meghani has a Holiday Safety message for residents here.
I also want to remind everyone that Dr. Meghani released a statement last month, including a letter to the community, both of which can be found here and continue to be relevant now through the holidays.
In her letter, Dr. Meghani asked all Halton residents to do the following:
- Stay home, except for essential purposes such as going to work or school, buying essentials such as groceries, and attending medical appointments.
- Maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from those outside their household. Those that live alone may join one designated household.
- Avoid all social gatherings such as play dates, birthday parties, and dinner parties with friends or family.
Please continually check the Province of Ontario website for any updates and changes.
Key changes for Halton, including Burlington, starting on Dec. 26 include:
- No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household.
- Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
- Limit for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings where physical distancing can be maintained is now 10 people outdoors only.
- Limit for wedding services, funeral services and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained is now 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
- Indoor and outdoor service prohibited at restaurants. Take out, drive-through and delivery still permitted, including alcohol.
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
- Facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities are closed except for the sole use of high performance athletes including parasport athletes, and specified professional leagues (e.g., NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA) and specified purposes (e.g., day camps, child care).
- Outdoor recreational amenities (e.g., ice rinks, ski hills, snow trails) can be open with restrictions (e.g., no team sports).
- Community centres and multi-purpose facilities (e.g., YMCA) allowed to be open for permitted activities (e.g., child care services, day camps, social services).
- Personal care services will be closed (such as hair and nail salons).
- Libraries open for curbside, delivery and pick-up only.
- Retail generally permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only (in-person retail shopping not permitted) with some exceptions:
- Supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, hardware stores, other retailers selling groceries, beer and wine and liquor stores, pharmacies and safety supply stores permitted to be open for in-person shopping
- 50% capacity limits where in-person shopping is permitted
- Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Garden centres, plant nurseries: indoor by appointment. Permitted if public remains outdoors or by curbside pick-up or delivery.
- Outdoor markets, including farmer’s markets and holiday markets, permitted with restrictions.
- Access to shopping malls for limited purposes, including access to businesses and organizations permitted to be open (e.g., pharmacy, dentist); food court open for take-away; malls may also establish designated pick-up points inside or adjacent to the mall, subject to general rule for businesses that are open must maintain 2 metre distance while standing in line inside and outside.
Assignments in the shutdown will last for 28 for municipalities in southern Ontario and 14 days for municipalities in northern Ontario, at which time the status of these public health unit regions will be reassessed on a weekly basis.
NEW SCHOOL PROTOCOLS:
The winter break for schools will be extended. Students in Kindergarten to Grade will return to in-person classes on Jan. 11, 2021, while high school students will return to in-person classes on Jan. 25, 2021.
- While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government’s broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Elementary and secondary school students at publicly funded schools would participate in remote learning from January 4 -8, 2021.
- Publicly-funded schools and private schools in Northern public health regions would be permitted to resume in person instruction on January 11, 2021 for both elementary and secondary schools.
- For publicly-funded schools and provost schools in all other PHU regions”
- Elementary school student would return to in person learning on January 11, 2021.
- Secondary school students would continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021 and resume in person learning on that date. For schools in all other Public Health Unit regions, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.
- During the applicable period schools will be closed, except for the following exceptions:
- For staff who are unable to deliver quality remote teaching, instruction or support to students from home
- To provide access to child care centres in schools
If you have additional questions about the framework or need clarification on how it may impact your business or activities, please reach out to our local MPPs’ offices for further details:
- MPP Jane McKenna, Burlington; or
- MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, Oakville-North Burlington; or
- MPP Parm Gill, Milton.
A summary of the health indicators for the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework are shown in the image below.
You can stay informed on our numbers by visiting the Halton Region online dashboard. A recently added tab — Monitoring Indicators — will display the above mentioned indicators and provide the public with a snapshot of COVID-19 activity in Halton (and Burlington, specifically as well), and the role that labs, public health and hospitals are playing in the the response. These indicators can help inform understanding of when additional restrictions have been required, and aspects of the response that may require additional resources.
- Update on City of Burlington Services, Programs During COVID-19 Province-wide Shutdown
- Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 and Save Lives
- Burlington Mayor Meed Ward Supports Additional Measures to Combat COVID-19
- Halton Medical Officer of Health Instructs Retailers to Control Crowding, Ensuring Strict 2-metre Distance & Capacity Limits in Stores & Spaces
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.
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 905-335-7777, by email at email@example.com or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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