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Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward: Walk, Don’t Stop – Engage in Physical Distancing

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*Please see the Statement from the Mayor below.

Burlington, Ont. – March 26, 2020 — Everyone has a role to play in keeping our community healthy and safe. We must each do our part.

I still get reports each day of people congregating in parks, playing pick-up games of basketball, using our sports fields and skate parks, bunching together to smoke outside, or letting their children use playground equipment that is not disinfected. The virus can live for days on surfaces and is highly contagious from one person to another. It is not an option to hang out in parks or spend time with people outside of those in your own household.

If you need some fresh air and activity, it’s okay to walk, cycle or jog through our parks, but please do not linger. Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone else in the park or on a trail.

Watch my quick video on why it’s important to #walkdontstop.

And please take your garbage out with you. Residents are putting a lot of garbage into the parks’ bins and we do not have the resources to keep up. Please, whatever you carry in, carry out and take home to dispose of including pet waste. We need everyone’s co-operation.

We’ve already closed playgrounds and sports fields, and Lowville Park, but people continue to break the rules. Don’t make us take further action like blocking parking lots into parks.

We expect to be in an emergency situation for at least the next three months. This will be longer if we don’t all do our part, and more people will get sick. I am urging everyone to please follow the advice we have repeatedly given and do your part. #walkdontstop #stayhome #stopthespread and #savelives.

These are serious times requiring serious action from all levels of government.

Yesterday the Federal Government mandated that all returning travelers must self-isolate for a period of 14 days to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Those who fail to comply will face steep penalties including fines of up to $750,000 and jail time up to six months. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.

I expect residents of Burlington to fully comply with this directive as well and put the health and well-being of their families, neighbours, and our healthcare system first.

If you’re home tonight, please use your phone at 6:45 p.m. and join us for the City of Burlington’s Public Telephone Town Hall. Cogeco’s YourTV will also be live-streaming the call. Join myself, MP Karina Gould, MPP Jane McKenna, representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital and the Halton Regional Police Service, along with our City Manager and councillors where we will answer call-in questions and help spread information and awareness of how to get or give help, support our community, and flatten the curve.

There is also help available.

I applaud the news coming out of both the Federal and Provincial levels of Government yesterday about financial supports for those whose livelihoods have been impacted by this ongoing situation.

The Government of Canada announced a new benefit yesterday, called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), to help those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This new plan combines the two benefits the government announced last week: The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. The single benefit is designed to make it easier for people to apply and receive money, including contract workers and the self-employed.

Also yesterday, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update) including the announcement of $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. It will also make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals.

As part of the above, the Province has deferred the education portion of our city’s tax payment to the Province and Halton Region has also deferred our regional portion, leaving us in a better position at the City of Burlington to defer property tax payments for our residents and businesses. We will be voting at our next council meeting to waive late fees and penalties for the upcoming April 21st property tax installment and consider deferring the due date past the end of May and possibly longer.

Our top priority at the City of Burlington remains the health and well-being of our residents. We are committed to keeping you informed in a clear and timely manner and encourage you to stay updated via the City’s dedicated website or my dedicated webpage. Additional information on all COVID-19 related matters can be found at the Halton Region’s website, the Ministry of Health of Ontario’s website, and the Federal Government’s website.

STAY home, STOP the spread, SAVE lives.

— 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 that will be updated as new information becomes available.

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

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905-335-7600, ext. 7689