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UPDATED: FAQs About Drive-by Parades in Burlington? Some Guidelines from Public Health, Province and City

COVID19_Drive by parade guidelines FAQs_UPDATED

*NOTE: This post was updated on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

**Please see below a message from Mayor Meed Ward.

I’ve received some questions from the public through social media and emails to the Mayor’s Office regarding the City’s announcement yesterday on the safety guidelines for drive-by parades and processions in Burlington.

Here are some of the frequently-asked-questions:

WHY DID THE CITY OF BURLINGTON DO THIS?

Some of the drive-by community events we have been seeing had grown to 150+ vehicles and motorcycles, with a staging area at a mall, going through residential streets not built for this, up to 6-12 addresses throughout the city, and the potential to attract crowds, at the staging area and along the route where people might get out of their vehicles and interact with each other. This poses clear public health, as well as pedestrian, driver safety and traffic concerns.

The organizers, who were planning another large event for this weekend, asked the City of Burlington for advice and guidance. We also knew of other events ranging in size from about 12-50 vehicles across the city planned for this weekend, so we needed clear consistent guidelines that would apply to everyone.

HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THESE GUIDELINES?

We turned to Halton Region Public Health and guidance in the Provincial Emergency Orders. We consulted with Halton Regional Police Service, Burlington Fire Department, Halton Paramedics, and City of Burlington Bylaw and the Emergency Control Group.

We then shared what we learned and heard with the community.

You can read that here in the City’s release on April 30: https://www.burlington.ca/en/Modules/News/index.aspx?feedId=0b11ae3a-b049-4262-8ca4-762062555538&newsId=384ee054-ffa6-48fb-a0a2-32de1270a132

It is important to note that Public Health has discouraged these events altogether, but we at the City have tried to find a balance to allow limited processions in terms of scope and scale.

The organizers of the large event have said they understand and will adhere to these guidelines, and have shown respect and support for them, and I’m grateful for that.

We have provided a way for these events to continue in a safer way to all involved including drivers, pedestrians, and participants. In one case, an individual is providing a “window of time” of an hour for people to make their own way to a drive by location – there is no staging, queuing or risk of gatherings. This is a reasonable solution.

WHY THE INITIAL LIMIT IT TO 5 VEHICLES?

The initial guideline limit of 5 vehicles for a drive-by parade/procession was taken from the Provincial Emergency Orders that forbid parades altogether and prohibit groups of more than 5 people.

In light of further clarification from the province yesterday about their emergency orders, the 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.

I spoke to Premier Ford this morning (Saturday, May 2) who understands our concerns about the large events and supports what we’re trying to do to provide some reasonable guidelines. He also had high praise for how the city has been handling the COVID19 crisis. We appreciate the support and collaboration the province has shown with municipalities throughout this pandemic and into the future.

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 not designed for large processions. We ask residents to continue to follow the recommended guidelines for these events from public health and the city, available here.

ARE THE EMERGENCY SUPPORT PROCESSIONS THAT HAVE BEEN HAPPENING IN THE CITY AFFECTED BY THESE GUIDELINES?

The Emergency Support Processions that have been taking place in Burlington will continue, as they occur on major arterial roads, have a police escort, its limited participants are well-educated on proper safety measures (including use of personal protection equipment -PPEs- if necessary) and have radio communications support.

These short processions are planned to be monthly, the first Friday of every month with a known and consistent route along with continued traffic control assistance.

IS THE CITY GOING TO BE TICKETING PEOPLE WHO DON’T FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES?

We are not creating a new bylaw and will not be issuing any tickets. There are existing traffic rules people already must comply with. We have offered additional guidance based on public health advice to find a safer way for these events to continue. Residents of Burlington are reasonable, and they’ll find a way to do this while respecting the rules of the road and advice of public health.

The drive-by parades and processions can continue.

DID YOU HEAR WHAT PREMIER FORD SAID TO THE MEDIA IN RESPONSE TO THE CITY’S GUIDELINES?

We are on the same page with the Province and Premier Ford regarding parades of a few minutes while residents remain in their cars. In light of further clarification from the province about their emergency orders, the 5-car limit doesn’t apply to drive by parades where people remain in their vehicles, don’t stop or get out. We have updated our guidelines with this new information.

I also spoke to the Premier this morning (Saturday, May 2) who understands our concerns about the large events and supports what we’re trying to do to provide some reasonable guidelines. He had high praise for how the city has been handling the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate the support and collaboration the province has shown with municipalities throughout this pandemic and into the future.

— Burlington 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:

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

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