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Updates on COVID-19 from the City of Burlington

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Welcome to the Mayor’s standing post dedicated to COVID-19 updates from the City of Burlington and our public health professionals and experts.

This page will be updated has often as new information is available and released.

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Mayor Meed Ward declared a state of emergency for the City of Burlington.

If you have questions about what the state of emergency means, please head to the COVID-19 FAQ page (bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ) – this page is continually updated with new questions as we encounter them from the public.

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please visit Halton Region Public Health’s website at halton.ca/coronavirus for further instructions about diagnosis and testing.

The Province of Ontario has an online self-assessment tool for anyone experiencing some symptoms but are unsure, please click the link to access it.

Click this link for what Physical (Social) Distancing Means and how best to employ it: Physical (Social) Distancing Infographic.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

Sunday, April 5, 2020:

  • Federal government highlights:
    • Starting tomorrow Canadians can sign ups for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
    • Canadians can expect their first payments by mail in 10 days, sooner if you register for direct deposit. There will be a staggered approach to applying, see below, so the system does not crash.
    • Canadians have been asking how they can help – the best thing they can do is follow public health recommendations
    • There will be volunteer opportunities with Health Canada for those with specialized skills.
    • There will be full time jobs for reservists.
    • The Federal government is looking at ways they can support young Canadians who rely on part time summer jobs that may not be available.
  • Provincial government highlights:
    • Province providing relief funding for residential service providers that support vulnerable populations – Media Release
      • The province is investing up to $40 million to support organizations that provide residential services for children and youth, people with developmental disabilities and emergency shelters for women and families fleeing domestic violence.
      • The COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund will cover costs such as additional staffing, residential respite for caregivers; personal protective equipment and supplies; initiatives to support physical distancing and transportation to minimize client exposure.

Saturday, April 4, 2020:

  • Mayor’s April 2020 Newsletter
  • Halton Region Update: How Do I…? listing of contacts and supports, click here — Halton Region_Contact Information_April 3_10am — for more.
  • Federal government briefing highlights:
    • At this time the federal government will not be releasing modelling data. “Regardless of the data that is used the measures that have been put in place is what is making a difference
    • The PM spoke about the measures that have been put in place to assist homeless shelters the victims of domestic abuse.
    • We have asked a lot of Canadians – to stay home, close their businesses and stay away from friends and family
    • He continued to urge Canadians to stay at home. “Physical distancing needs to be taken seriously – it will save lives.”
    • In the next 48 hours a shipment of millions of masks is expected.
    • The PM spoke about two activities for children:
      • On Sunday April 5, the PM and Dr. Tam will be doing a teleconference for children and youth. Prime Minister Trudeau and Dr. Tam will answer them in a video conference that will be available simultaneously on the CBC Kids News and MAJ platforms, and broadcast on CBC TV, CBC Gem and ICI TÉLÉ on Sunday, April 5th at 9am. CBC/Radio-Canada will make this video conference available to all broadcasters.
      • Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen will answer questions on Sunday April 5 at 1:30 p.m. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdNtqpHlU1pCaVy2wlzxHKQ
  • Provincial government highlights:
  • Premier’s briefing:
    • Again today a Province wide alert will be issued, urging everyone, except essential workers to stay home.
    • “We collectively have the power to flatten the curve and save lives.”
  • The Province has launched a new web portal to help employers and Ontarians looking for work in the agri-food sector. Supermarkets need workers; people need jobs – Media Release
    • Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs provides access to information on job opportunities and training resources in all parts of Ontario’s food supply chain – from grocery retailers to bakeries and cheese processing plants to opportunities on farms.
  • Ontario Protecting Seniors in Retirement Homes During COVID-19 Outbreak
    • The Province issued a temporary order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that will help retirement homes address emergency staffing needs as they respond to COVID-19. Under this order retirement homes will have more flexibility to recruit and reassign staff.
    • Retirement homes are also required to report any outbreak of COVID-19 to the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, as well as the local medical officer of health.
    • To further safeguard the health of seniors living in retirement homes the Provincial government has also amended the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 requiring that all retirement homes follow the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s guidance and recommendations regarding infection control and prevention.
    • $20 million in additional funding has been provided to support increased infection control and active screening measures
  • Regulation on essential workplaces – Province of Ontario_closure-nonessential-business-2020-04-03_0
  • Statement from Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, on  tentative agreement with Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW): Statement

Friday April 3, 2020:

  • All Burlington Parks to be Closed to Vehicular Access
  • Starting April 8, Metrolinx is reducing GO train & bus service levels in order to sustain a safe transit experience customers can rely on. For schedule changes click here.
  • Burlington Foundation launches $100,000 COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund to support local charities on the front-line helping those most vulnerable.
  • Province extends business closures and updates essential businesses list
  • Ontario Increasing Public Health Units’ Capacity to Stop COVID-19 — Province launches a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results.
  • Highlights from Ontario’s briefing on COVID-19 models:
    • No action: 6,000 deaths by the end of April
    • With current action: 1,600 deaths by the end of April
    • With stronger action: 250 deaths by the end of April
    • Over the course of the pandemic there could be 100,000 deaths with no measures, with measures we can expect 3,000  to 15,000 deaths
    • The full pandemic is expected to last 18 months to 2 years
    • If we “bear down hard” now we can get through this more quickly and the economy could also rebound more quickly
    • Immediate focus:
      • Enhanced capacity for case and contact tracing is underway.
      • Increased testing for COVID-19, with a focus on long-term care, retirements homes and other congregate settings.
    • Future measures:
      • Reduce the number and types of essential workplaces
      • Enhance the focus on enforcement and fines for non-compliance
      • Expand directions/guidance on physical distancing, including retail settings
      • Enhanced support for elderly, homeless and other vulnerable populations and communities.
      • Consider entry restrictions in some communities including First Nations.
      • Human resource management (movement of health care workers between settings)
      • Use of technology to reinforce self-isolation (alerts).
      • Additional public education and communication  (shelter in place with limited protections)
    • Every year in Ontario we lose 1,350 people to the normal seasonal flu. In a bad year we could lose 1,500. For COVID-19 it’s 10 times higher.
    • Dr. Donnelly “use of masks is best preserved for  those who need them most – front line health care workers”
  • Highlights from federal government briefing today:
    • The Canadian Government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada do distribute critical equipment and supplies to provinces.
    • Food banks are facing unprecedented challenges – fewer volunteers, fewer donations and greater need. $100 M will go to meeting the urgent food needs of Canadians.
    • The $100 million investment is divided as follows:
      • $50 million to Food Banks Canada
      • $20 million divided evenly between Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada
      • $30 million for local-level organizations who serve people experiencing food insecurity
    • The GST credits and child benefits will be sent out in April instead of May, which was originally announced.
    • There were several questions from reporters to the PM about the order issued by President Trump to 3M to stop exporting masks. The PM said it would not be advantageous for the US or Americans to limit trade/exports between the US and other countries.
    • On Sunday the PM along with Dr. Tam will be doing a video conference for children and youth.
    • Media Release on Food Bank funding
    • Readout from First Ministers Meeting on April 2
      • They talked about the measures underway to ensure that Canadian health care workers have the necessary personal protective equipment and medical supplies they need.
      • The Prime Minister updated premiers on the Government’s commitment to invest $2 billion to purchase testing products, ventilators, and protective personal equipment. This funding includes bulk purchases with provinces and territories, as well as measures to help businesses scale-up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to produce products that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
      • First Ministers agreed on the need to continue working together, including sharing necessary information, to ensure that equipment is provided where and when it is needed.
      • First Ministers also discussed emergency actions taken by provinces and territories, including restrictions on non-essential travel between provinces, as well as between Canada and the United States, while ensuring that essential goods and supply chains are maintained.

Thursday, April 2, 2020:

  • Message From Your Mayor: Burlington, You Must Do More to Slow COVID-19 Spread
  • Halton Regional Police Service: Enforcement of Emergency Orders Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
  • Federal government briefing today:
    • There will be a First Ministers conference call this evening with the Premiers. They will discuss data sharing and modeling as well as how they can continue to work together to keep people safe.
    • Medical supplies are being shipped to all Provinces. Hockey giant Bauer is producing protective face shields for first responders instead of hockey helmets.
    • Canadians urged to listen to doctors and medical experts.  “Make the right choices now.” We can “save lives together by staying apart.”
    • The federal government will continue to work with Provinces who have the powers to keep people at home. The Federal government will only step in if what is happening provincially isn’t working.
  • Provincial government briefing today:
    • The situation is extremely serious and the Province “will all have to make some very difficult decisions.”
    • Medical experts will be providing an update tomorrow with details on where we were, where we are and where we could be.
    • This information will help Ontarians make the best decisions for their families. The information “may not be easy to hear.”
    • Mental health was the focus of today’s briefing — “You are not alone, we are listening, we care. If you are struggling talk to someone.”
    • Premier Doug Ford was asked about when “he would pull the trigger” on a mandatory stay home order. He again said that nothing was off the table.
    • The list of essential services is being reviewed and we will hear about changes in the coming days.
    • Attorney General Doug Downey also announced emergency action to support victims of crime and protect front-line staff.
      • The Province is providing an emergency payment of more than $2.7 million to support services for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during the COVID-19 crisis. This additional one-time emergency payment will support more than 50 community agencies across Ontario, including victim crisis assistance organizations (VCAOs), Indigenous organizations and those based in rural areas, stay operational and accessible to victims during the public health crisis.
      • The funds will help front-line staff respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and enhance access to immediate supports for victims, including extended hotels stays, and transportation and meal vouchers available through the Victim Quick Response Program Plus (VQRP+).  – Media release
    • Minister of Health, Christine Elliot and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney issued a joint statement regarding the Ontario trucking industry. They asked:
      • businesses who rely on truck drivers are expected to provide the necessary facilities for them. Everyone is being asked to do their part to make sure drivers can keep doing their jobs safely.
      • the Province is providing more safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest across the province. All 23 ONroute travel plazas will remain open for take-out, grab and go and drive-through services, including washrooms with enhanced cleaning. The Province is providing portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations so trucks have a place to stop and rest safely.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020:

Monday, March 30, 2020:

Sunday, March 29, 2020:

Saturday, March 28, 2020:

  • Burlington Successfully Holds Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 Response & Supports
  • Province to Buy Urgently Needed Critical Goods and Services and Deploy them to Where They are Needed the Most
  • Provincial government briefing:
    • Individuals and companies that are hoarding and/or selling of “necessary goods”, which include: masks, gloves, non-prescription medications, disinfecting wipes and cleaners and personal hygiene products (including toilet paper) at higher prices will be fined or could face jail time. Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.  See details in the release below.
    • The maximum gathering size will be lowered to 5. An order on this later today.
    • Minister Lecce will be making an announcement on Monday about parents having to pay for daycare when children are not attending. No mention of an announcement on the extension of school closures yet.
  • Ontario Prohibits Gatherings of More Than Five People with Strict Exceptions
  • Federal government briefing:
    • Starting Monday March 30 at noon, there will be new restrictions in place for domestic travel on federally regulated transportation (planes and trains). Anyone showing signs/symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied boarding. Provincial borders are not closed.
    • Canadians are encouraged to pre-register for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program on the Canada Revenue Agency portal: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html.
    • The Prime Minister once again encouraged people to continue to do what they have been doing – stay at home and continue to social distance:
      • 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
      • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
      • Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
      • Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements

Friday, March 27, 2020:

Thursday, March 26, 2020:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

  • Burlington Successfully Holds Virtual Special Council Meeting and Announces Modified Schedule for Transit Starting Sunday, March 29
  • Halton Region announces 15th confirmed positive case of COVID-19 experienced symptoms while travelling
  • Ontario announces toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
    • $200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency supports for people in financial need as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers to respond to local needs; for example, food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services;
    • Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses; and
    • Working in conjunction with the government of Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will allow employers to defer payments for a period of six months. This will provide employers with $1.9 billion in financial relief.
    • The government will provide a $200 cheque per child up to 12 years old, and $250 for children with special needs, to offset additional costs associated with school and child care closures.
    • Increased funding to charities and non-profits by $148 million to recognize increased reliance on the institutions during the coronavirus.
    • Cutting business taxes by $355 million through a temporary increase to the Employment Health Tax exemption.
    • Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System support for low-income seniors for six months.
    • As previously announced, providing six months of loan and interest accrual relief for post-secondary students.
    • $1.5 billion in electricity subsidies that were previously announced. The government is projected to fund $5.6 billion in hydro subsidies, an effective continuation of the previous Liberal government’s Fair Hydro Plan.
  • Federal Government Introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to Help Workers & Businesses, and Quarantine Measures Act
    • Quarantine Measures: 
      • All travellers returning to Canada — with the exception of what the federal government is calling “essential workers” — will have to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine as of midnight tonight.
      • Individuals who exhibit symptoms upon arrival in Canada will be forbidden, they will also be forbidden from using public transit to travel to their places self-isolation. Those travellers also will not be permitted to quarantine in a place where they can come into contact with vulnerable people. The Public Health Agency of Canada will make alternative arrangements for people in those circumstances.
      • More specific information on enforcement is coming later today.
    • Highlights of the programCanada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan:
      • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures will also be eligible.
      • A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
      • A new Emergency Support Benefit to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
      • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
      • A doubling of the homeless care program.
      • An extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1. There is also a policy change allowing taxpayers to defer until after Aug. 31 tax payments that are due after today and before September.
      • $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

Monday, March 23, 2020:

Sunday, March 22, 2020:

Saturday, March 21, 2020:

Friday, March 20, 2020:

Thursday, March 19, 2020:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020:

Monday, March 16, 2020:

Sunday, March 15, 2020:

Saturday, March 14, 2020:

Friday, March 13, 2020:

Thursday, March 12, 2020:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020:

Monday, March 2, 2020:

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

 

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