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Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward: Provincial Plan to Reopen Ontario

COVID19_Reopening Ontario

Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford and his team announced a road map to begin reopening Ontario with a focus on protection, reopening, and recovery. This is welcomed news for all Ontarians and a direct result of the hard work and sacrifices everyone has made to help successfully flatten the curve of COVID-19.

The City of Burlington is looking forward to implementing a similarly phased approach that aligns with the framework and guidelines being followed at the provincial level. This roadmap is about the how more than the when.

Ontario’s Chief Officer of Health has outlined three stages for opening workplaces and public spaces and permitting gatherings as time progresses. The criteria the Province will be using in their decision-making include:

  • A consistent two-to-four week sustained decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

The federal government also indicated yesterday that reopening guidelines should include the capacity for testing, an adequate supply of PPE in place, and the continued medical capacity in place to handle a surge.

While no specific dates have yet been announced by the Province in its detailed framework, we know that with the closure of schools and provincial parks being extended to May 31, we have a slow and steady timeline ahead of us. Burlington City Hall and city facilities will remain closed through the end of June as previously announced. Burlington’s local businesses launched a campaign yesterday encouraging our community to continue to “Stay home so Burlington can get back to business.” In alignment with the Province and their future decisions related to lifting restrictions on essential services impacting the City, we will not rush this recovery at the expense of the progress we have made thus far.

Our No. 1 priority in Burlington continues to be the health and well-being of our people, especially those who are most vulnerable. As we formalize our plan with input from city leadership teams and council in May, we will partner closely with Halton Region Public Health so we can continue to closely monitor the level of risk being posed by COVID-19 throughout every stage of our plan.

Halton Region’s mayors, including Mayor Rick Bonnette, Mayor Gordon Krantz, Mayor Rob Burton and myself, have formed a partnership to work together on our respective plans. All four mayors have come together as the Halton Mayors Recovery Coordination Group and made the commitment to keep each other and Halton Region Chair Gary Carr apprised of decisions being considered in each municipality, share best practices, and coordinate our plans and timing.

In the weeks and months ahead, our commitment as a City is to be crystal clear and transparent about the plans and specific behaviours we are asking of the public, keep the community informed of evolving risks, and work diligently with our healthcare partners to track infection and continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We have all made many sacrifices to flatten the curve here in Burlington and we must ensure they were not made in vain. For now, we must continue to stay home and follow the advice of health experts while we navigate this virus and plan the way forward. We will be cautious and careful in each step we take so that we can safely reopen our economy, manage risk, and keep our community healthy.

— 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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