A case of COVID-19 has been identified St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School, the school’s principal, Brad Shoreman, notified parents and guardians on Sunday.
Following is his message.
We have been notified by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) that an individual at St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School has tested positive for COVID-19. The SMDHU is responsible for investigating all possible and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, and we will follow the process they have in place to prevent further spread and to protect our staff and students. Please note that due to privacy laws, we will not release personal or identifying information about any staff or student who is ill. Here is what you can expect to happen going forward.
What the health unit will do:
When the health unit confirms that a person does have COVID-19 they will manage the situation based on an individual risk assessment, informed by the Ministry of Health’s COVID 19 Guidance: School Outbreak Management. The health unit will determine who is at risk and ensure that school staff, families and students are provided with the appropriate information and recommendations to protect themselves and those close to them. These may include:
• Working with the school to determine who from the school community (e.g. students, staff, before and after care, bus, volunteers, etc.) may have been in close contact with the person who has COVID-19
• Notifying those who have been in close contact with the person who has COVID-19, and sending them home for 14 days following their last close contact
• Advising those who are identified as close contacts to seek testing, including those with no symptoms
What our school will do:
We will provide the health unit with information about anyone else the person with COVID-19 was in contact with while at school (including before and after school care) and on the school bus. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection in all areas in the school where the individuals may have been has already taken place and will continue to be a priority. The school will remain open and no further action has been suggested by the health unit at this point. We will continue to take direction from the health unit and will communicate with you further as necessary.
What parents/guardians should do: 
• Ensure their child(ren) completes the daily self-screening before coming to school and follow the self-screening directions carefully
• Continue sending their child(ren) to school unless they have been directly contacted by the health unit and instructed otherwise
• Keep their child(ren) home if they are experiencing any symptoms 
• Follow the advice of our public health agencies 
• Reinforce the importance of mask wearing and proper hand hygiene with their children
We all must work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a school community we will pray for all those impacted by this virus and continue to demonstrate compassion and respect for one another as we navigate this situation.
We encourage families to visit the www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or (toll free) 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5830 for more health-related information or visit our Board website at www.smcdsb.on.ca for details about our school reopening plan. 
Yours in faith,
Mr. Brad Shoreman
Principal, St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School

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Krystal Rietkoetter from Ceremony Bridal Studio in Barrie was awarded $10,000 in the Further, Faster program offered through the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College.

When Krystal Rietkoetter was looking for expert feedback on how to grow her wedding gown business, she decided to enrol in the Further, Faster program offered through the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College.
Throughout the intensive seven-week program, participants gain many valuable tools to help start, grow and scale their businesses. In the final workshop, everyone delivers a one-minute pitch to a panel of five judges to qualify to compete for $10,000 in the Grand Pitch Competition. Rietkoetter, who owns Ceremony Bridal Studio in Barrie, competed and won out of seven finalists.
“Winning this competition means the world to me,” said Rietkoetter. “There has been a number of things I wanted to invest in, and now I have the funds to accomplish them. The money will allow me to bring in a team to help me with digital marketing, and I’m also going to invest in a budget-friendly line of bridal gowns in order to become accessible to more brides in our community.”
Rietkoetter added that while she enrolled in the Further Faster program to study from established entrepreneurs and connect with other emerging small businesses, she also learned more about branding and the importance of using all your resources and connections.
“Barrie is an incredible community to be an entrepreneur in, so I would encourage others to take advantage of programs like Further Faster, and to learn from mentors and business professionals who are willing to donate their time.”
Shelby Taylor, founder of Chickapea Pasta, was one of the competition judges and knows firsthand the value of the Further Faster program.
“As the winner of HBEC’s inaugural pitch competition, I know what an impact it can have on an entrepreneur’s growth and the success of their business,” said Taylor. “There wasn’t even prize money when I pitched, but the advice and the connections were invaluable, and that’s what I hoped to offer this year’s contestants.”
Taylor added that the calibre of the pitches was high, with everyone showing great resilience in the face of a global pandemic.
“Krystal’s pitch stood out for a few reasons,” Taylor explained. “First, she communicated her value proposition and her sales model clearly, along with her milestones and her use of funds. She knew her numbers and had great confidence. Lastly, her sales model made sense as she was growing and adjusting her existing model rather than pivoting to a completely new model.”
Other judges were equally impressed with Rietkoetter’s presentation. 
“As an active angel investor, I look more closely at the founder than the product or service,” said Paul Larche, President and CEO of Larche Digital. “Krystal stood out because she conveyed the confidence and ability to get through the many challenges that await her, or any startup. She projected pose and trustworthiness, which investors crave.”
Domenic Spataro of DS Designs – The Tanglegripper received a runner-up award giving him 10 hours of specialist mentoring (valued at $1,000) from HBEC.
The Further Faster program, which launched in the summer of 2018, has helped more than 220 entrepreneurs.

Story and photo supplied by Georgian College

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“The county is coming to the City for 7.7 per cent more than last year, and that’s a substantial amount of funding. When I asked questions about that, the primary cause is an increase in long-term-care costs.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

It began with a question about how a possible $65-million COVID-related municipal revenue loss could turn into a $6.3-million surplus by the end of September, and then veered into musings as to whether a possible year-end surplus might be used to offset future property tax increases, before settling into a caution about not counting one’s chickens before they hatch.
Welcome to the seemingly complex world of planning for the business of Barrie.
The occasion was a discussion at general committee last week about the status of the City’s business plan, as of Sept. 30; the director of finance and treasurer, Craig Millar, is required to produce quarterly update memos, and an end-of-year report that compares actual results to the budget passed at the beginning of the year.
As of Sept. 30, the City’s revenues were $12.5 million lower than what had been expected in the 2020 pre-COVID budget, largely the result of declines due to COVID-19 measures, like cancelled City services. That loss, however, was offset by $18.8 million in deferred spending, leaving a tax-supported surplus, as of the 30th, of the aforementioned $6.3 million.
The possibility of a year-end surplus got some members of committee wondering if that money could be used to offset any increase in property taxes that may be coming in 2021. Millar responded by explaining that in all likelihood, the surplus as of Sept. 30 will turn into a deficit of $2 million, or perhaps a break-even situation, by the end of the year, once all the reckoning is done.
“While it (was) $6.3 million at the end of September, the number is coming down. For example, we know we are going to have about a $1-million parking deficit, (and) we know the county is going to require anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million more from the City this year to pay our (additional) costs of long-term care,” the director said. 
“As we get towards the end of the year, I anticipate, as the report suggests, we will be closer to breaking even or in a deficit position.”
Projects that were put on hold because of COVID-19 are coming back online, and that will further cut into the current surplus, he said, adding that salary reductions – people laid off – and reduced services contributed significantly to the overall impact.
Millar was asked about the earlier projected $65-million loss, and how that transformed into the $6.3-million surplus, or a possible break-even scenario by the end of the year. It mostly came down to a case of what we knew then, and what we know now. The $65 million was not a deficit, rather it was a worst-case scenario as to what could happen to City revenues.
“At the time COVID hit way back in March, we didn’t know who was going to pay their property taxes, who was going to pay their wastewater bills, so at that time … experts were suggesting that we could see up to 25 per cent of people and businesses not paying,” he said.
“That $65 million was a forecasted receivable that we were seeing; by the end of the year if (25) per cent of folks didn’t pay, we could be at that level. That was before any stimulus money was announced, so fortunately it hasn’t materialized. In fact, we have seen a pretty robust return on people paying their taxes on time. So, from a cashflow standpoint, that was the lens we were looking (through).”
The City also received $9.1 million from phase one of the Safe Restart program; second phase funding may be accessible if COVID-19 operating costs and pressures exceed the first allocation. The year-end break-even or $2-million deficit projections exclude the funds from Safe Restart.
“I anticipate that once we allocate those funds to COVID-related costs and revenues, that by the end of the year we will have some form of a surplus. It will be less than ($6.3) million, but it will be offset by some of the … money that we got,” said Millar. 
Major Jeff Lehman cautioned committee that additional costs coming the City’s way, such as a long-term-care bill from the county (which manages such services for the region) will cut into any surplus that might arise from including the Safe Restart funding.
“The county is coming to the City for 7.7 per cent more than last year, and that’s a substantial amount of funding. When I asked questions about that, the primary cause is an increase in long-term-care costs; I think all of us who have watched what has happened during COVID can understand why the county wants to spend more on staffing and long-term care,” he said.
“It’s a substantial bill for the City … when asked how the City could pay for this, they said Safe Restart funding.”
The mayor continued that he supports efforts to improve conditions in long-term-care homes, including “picking up a wage bill,” but said there is a cost to that.
“And if the province isn’t going to pay it, then the county and the City and the City of Orillia are going to pay it … maybe don’t count your chickens, because I think there is going to be a year-end reckoning and a 2021 for COVID that we don’t fully know yet.”

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Retired Constable Janet Schefter started the Mitten Tree more than 20 years ago, with a vision inspired by a group of individuals who had been struggling to stay warm throughout the winter months.


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The Barrie Police Service hopes to bring a bit of warmth to the community this winter, as the service launches the annual mitten tree campaign for 2020. This year, masks will also be collected to help keep everyone safe and warm.
Retired Constable Janet Schefter started the Mitten Tree more than 20 years ago, with a vision inspired by a group of individuals who had been struggling to stay warm throughout the winter months. It was her goal to see that everyone in our community would be kept warm throughout the winter months, which led to the creation of the Mitten Tree. In 2019, Officer Janet retired after a policing career that spanned more than 30 years and touched thousands of lives of all ages.
Many families, including seniors, are faced with low income, high rent, and everyday living expenses, and it can be a struggle to make ends meet. This year, more than ever, there is a need to help individuals stay warm within the community.
The Mitten Tree is one of many holiday initiatives that allow members of the service and the community to give back. Tens of thousands of hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves have been distributed to individuals of all ages, throughout the City of Barrie and the surrounding area.
The success of the Mitten Tree can be attributed to the generosity of the community, local elementary schools, and members of the Barrie Police Service. Donations have been sent in from Toronto and as far away as Nanaimo, British Columbia from avid knitters who contribute to the campaign every year.
The Mitten Trees continue to become more vibrant and erupt with vast donations of hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves which have been donated to: Youth Haven, David Busby Centre / Out of the Cold, The Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre Cancer Care, CARAH House, Salvation Army Barrie, Hospice Simcoe.
If you would like to donate to the Mitten Tree campaign, please visit the Barrie Police Service Headquarters, 110 Fairview Road, Barrie. A tree has been generously donated by Sommerville Nurseries and is located in the lobby of the Barrie Simcoe Emergency Services Campus.
All donated items must be newly purchased or made for health reasons. Donations will be accepted up until Sunday, December 20, 2020. All inquiries can be directed to 705-725-7025, ext. 2907.

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The Barrie Police Service is asking residents for feedback on how safe they feel in their community. The online survey is available until Dec. 11.


The Barrie Police Service has launched its 2020 Community Safety Survey, asking a variety of questions about the public’s feeling of safety within the community.
The completely confidential survey is available online and takes just minutes to complete. Share your feedback on the top issues facing your neighbourhood, how safe you feel in various locations during the day, and at night, as well as satisfaction with the Barrie Police Service.
Results are reported in the Barrie Police Service’s Annual Report and Strategic Plans. The survey will be available to be completed until Friday, Dec. 11.
More details on the results of the 2019 Community Safety Survey are available in the 2019 Barrie Police Service Annual Report, which is available on the Barrie Police website.

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The Simcoe/Muskoka region is moving into the Orange-Restrict level as of Monday, Nov. 23.


“We cannot put in-class learning at risk, we can’t risk widespread outbreaks in our long-term care homes, we cannot risk overwhelming our hospitals. To protect our most vulnerable, to protect what matters most, we have to get the community spread under control.” – Premier Doug Ford

As Toronto and Peel region move into lockdown mode starting Monday, the Simcoe/Muskoka region is moving to the Orange-Restrict level from the current Yellow-Protect designation.
Premier Doug Ford announced the new restrictions today (Friday), citing data showing COVID-19 cases continuing to spike.
“My friends, I have been clear on this. The situation is extremely serious and further action is required to avoid the worst-case scenario, where the rate of a community spread is greatest (risk) … to our schools, our long-term care homes, (and) hospitals,” he said Friday when announcing the new measures.
“We cannot put in-class learning at risk, we can’t risk widespread outbreaks in our long-term care homes, we cannot risk overwhelming our hospitals. To protect our most vulnerable, to protect what matters most, we have to get the community spread under control.”
The news comes as Ontario reported 1,418 new cases on Friday. In this region, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported 1,837 confirmed cases as of today; the unit updates daily, Monday through Friday. The number includes 39 new cases since the last update, yesterday (Thursday). There have been 52 deaths, while 1,553 have recovered.
Ford said measures already taken have saved lives, “but this virus, it spreads like wildfire, and in certain parts of the province, it is spreading at an alarming rate.
“Last week our modelling showed that if nothing was done, we could face 6,000 new daily cases in the coming weeks, overwhelming our ICUs shortly after that. More deaths, more losses, but we can avoid this if we take further action now.”
Restrictions under the new level for Simcoe/Muskoka include:
• Events and social gatherings (for example, BBQs): 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors
• Organized public events and gatherings: 50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors
• Religious services, weddings and funerals: 30 per cent capacity indoors, 100 people outdoors
• Masks will be required for indoor workplaces, indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions, and where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers, workers must use additional protections such as eye protection
• Workplaces must develop and implement a communication/public education plan (highlighting risk). Physical distancing must be maintained. Non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided
Restrictions for restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments include:
• 50 person indoor seated capacity limit
• Require patrons to be seated, two-metre minimum between tables
• Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
• Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
• Require patron contact info (one per party)
• No buffet style service
• Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
• Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
• Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
• Eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within 2 metres of workers
• Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
• Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
• Require contact information for all seated patrons
• Limit of 4 people may be seated together
• Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
• Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)
• Closure of strip clubs
• A safety plan must be available upon request
For other restriction under the orange zone, click here.
“My friends, I know these past few months have been extremely difficult. COVID fatigue is setting in on all of us. But I have seen the strength of our people, and it is up to each and every one of us to determine our future, to write the next chapter of our history. And we all have a part to play.”
The premier also encouraged people to shop local and to avoid panic buying.
“I know this is difficult news today. It’s not where we want to be, but my friends I have faith (that) Ontario will weather … this storm together. Please look out for each other, please stick together because at this darkest hour, we see what we are made of, we see that we can endure. And we will endure, we will persevere, and we will get through this.”

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The City’s new Tourism Master Plan was approved in principle by general committee, goes to city council for ratification


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The City’s new Tourism Master Plan identifies the sector as vital to the economic health of Barrie and the growth of the city as a preferred destination for visitors, from near and far.
The plan was presented to general committee this week by Stephanie Schlichter, director of economic and creative development.
“The purpose of the plan is to create a long-term vision for the role of tourism as an economic driver and provide a series of short-term initiatives and actions that will move the city closer to achieving that vision,” she said, adding: “It’s important to note that (with) the Tourism Master Plan, the bulk of the work was created prior to the pandemic and it really is designed to be implemented in a post-pandemic climate.”
Staff asked for approval in principle for the master plan, and will report back next spring with prioritized recommendations on implementation and execution. General committee accepted the plan and council is expected to endorse the decision next week.
Schlichter said consultants reviewed “tourism-centric assets” in the city, gathering input from more than 80 stakeholders … “and considered existing plans and how they could play a role in Barrie’s tourism strategy. They also looked at what other successful destinations were doing.”
Tourism, she continued, encompasses more than Barrie’s waterfront.
“I think we often think of the waterfront as our sole source of tourism … but tourism encompasses so much more and touches on so many parts of our local economy, from arts and culture, open park space, to shopping experiences, and all of the supporting resources around it. It is really important that the tourism master plan looked at all of this from a broader visitor economy context.”
Components of the master plan include:
• Integrating the tourism sector, focusing on its economic development, and function (talent attraction/retention, investment attraction, economic sector diversification, and growth of creative and knowledge-based sectors)
• Investing in Barrie as a tourism product, as well as in the people who support that product 
• Developing and aligning the Barrie brand
The master plan also links the roles of the City and Tourism Barrie in developing the city as a destination location. For instance, the City’s efforts to drive overall tourism strategy, linking partners, setting overall direction for Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), is connected to Tourism Barrie’s role in being the city’s overall tourism marketing agency.
The plan also contains ten priority recommendations, and 30 in total, including: 
• Adopting tourism as a priority economic sector for Barrie: Tourism is an economic driver with Barrie possessing the majority of accommodations supporting the tourism area
• Establish a tourism position within the City to work jointly with Tourism Barrie: Integrate the strategic tourism lens across internal functions including arts & culture development, special events, active transportation, etc.
• Incorporating a tourism point of view when considering new development, way-finding, parking and downtown revitalization: Unique downtown offerings (shopping & dining) to draw people to the downtown, clear directional signage and parking
“Not only does (tourism) serve to increase revenue in the city … it also builds on our strategic position in the city as a lifestyle destination that will attract the skilled talent we will need to support our businesses, the new residents we will need to fulfill our growth projections, the development of new businesses that will drive our employment and economic growth,” said Schlichter.

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Artistic rendition of proposed Fisher Auditorium arts and event centre. An update on the project’s direction is expected soon.


“The hotel is close enough to the Fisher Auditorium that both could benefit. Our Tourism Master Plan makes it clear an adjoining or nearby hotel is critical to a conference centre’s success.” – Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward

Don’t look now but it seems there could be life yet for the proposed Fisher Auditorium arts and event centre, a development that seemed to be exiting the stage due to rising costs and COVID-19 realities.
Last July, a memo from Stephanie Schlichter, director of economic and creative development, informed council that the price tag for the development had nearly doubled, to an estimated $50 million from $25.6 million. That, along with COVID-19 distancing measures that would limit potential audiences, seemed to put the kibosh on plans for the 600-seat theatre/400-seat event centre. 
“The success of a theatre and conference centre are hinged on the ability to draw large crowds and with the uncertainty of the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on such gatherings, it is not reasonable to anticipate the feasibility of a new theatre and conference centre at this time. Everyone involved in the work feeding into the Business Plan believes that the assumptions now need to change,” she wrote in the report.
Well, those assumptions may have changed, perhaps giving new life to the project.
The success of an event, or conference, centre always hinged on the close proximity of a hotel, where people attending a conference might stay. That likelihood may be closer to reality with SmartCentres’ proposed development on Bradford Street, which could include a hotel with 152 suites. At general committee this week, Schlichter said an update on the Fisher project will be forthcoming in two weeks, adding that based on previous direction from council, discussions with SmartCentres to explore opportunities have already taken place. 
Mayor Jeff Lehman confirmed he has talked to Paula Bustard, SmartCentres’ vice president in charge of development, about setting up a further conversation with the Invest Barrie staff (to) talk about the potential on this site. It’s his understanding, he said, that a “full-size conference facility is not in the cards for SmartCentres, both for parking and development interest reasons, but they would be happy to partner, or speak with the City (about) their plans for a hotel and the potential for a facility in and around the downtown core.
“SmartCentres can provide a more formal response to general committee … we will see where that goes.”
The developer, the mayor continued, has stated it’s the business of a hotel operator to include a conference facility onsite, or not. That has happened in some locations, while in others municipalities have gotten involved. It’s worthwhile, he said, to at least explore options.
“It makes perfect sense that across the street with a hotel already planned as part of their development, whatever might happen, whether the Fisher proceeds or not, they would be closely integrated with our efforts towards tourism in Barrie.”
Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward told City Scene that there may be opportunities for the City and developer to work together to ensure a hotel on the Bradford property and conference centre at the Fisher site complement each other.
“The hotel is close enough to the Fisher Auditorium that both could benefit. Our Tourism Master Plan makes it clear an adjoining or nearby hotel is critical to a conference centre’s success. A hotel on the SmartCentres’ site could be just what a conference facility on the former Barrie Centre Collegiate property needs. I think the City might be able to work with SmartCentres to ensure we were both building something that was beneficial to both.”
Barrie, said Ward, needs a conference centre.
“We are missing out on economic opportunities. Thousands of Barrie residents, at least before the pandemic, were spending a lot of money on conferences which helped other municipalities. We need to get some of those dollars back. I’m confident conferences will return in the future. It’s also worth noting that, even without a conference facility, Barrie needs a performing arts centre to replace the aging Georgian Theatre. Having a conference facility attached would help the performing arts centre, but it wouldn’t depend on it.”
Stay tuned, more to come.

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“Let me be very clear: our focus is to enhance service and learning both in person and remotely.” – Georgian College President and CEO Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes


At an all-employee town hall, Georgian College President and CEO Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes congratulated employees on how well the college has adapted to the realities of the pandemic, and announced plans for a bold new digital innovation strategy to lead the college into the future.
During the pandemic, Georgian has made rapid adjustments to deliver curriculum and student services in a primarily remote environment. At the employee town hall, more than halfway into the fall semester, West-Moynes acknowledged the progress the college has made and congratulated employees on how well they’ve embraced technology to move most academic programs and services to remote delivery.
The college also detailed plans for the winter semester, with 85 per cent of courses being offered remotely. And with the unpredictability of potential future waves to the pandemic, for those students with in-person learning, 20 per cent of those activities will be compressed to less than 13 weeks to reduce the amount of time required to be on campus.
Building on this successful shift and in response to student and employee feedback, West-Moynes also announced a bold plan to lay the groundwork now to frame how – through a multi-phase, multi-year digital innovation project – Georgian will enhance their digital learning resources and student services to position the college for success during and on the other side of the pandemic.
“Aside from discussions about our continued focus on the health and safety of our students, there’s one constant in the conversations I’m having at the college and in the community and that is, ‘How can Georgian be a leader in an increasingly digital world and continue to adapt in a meaningful way to provide the best experience possible for our students?,’ said West-Moynes.
“That’s why I’m announcing the creation of a new interdisciplinary portfolio that will draw together key resources from across the college who will thoughtfully and strategically develop an innovative digital strategy to benefit the entire college. Let me be very clear: our focus is to enhance service and learning both in person and remotely.”
The college’s board of governors has intensified the interest in digital innovation at Georgian since the onset of the pandemic, said Paul Larche, Chair, Georgian College Board of Governors.
“The board is fully supportive of the digital innovation project and will closely monitor progress as the college brings the many facets of it to fruition.”
An overview of the new, interdisciplinary approach was presented at the town hall by Janet Davis, the newly appointed Vice President, Strategy and Innovation; Kevin Weaver, Vice President, Academic; Jamie Doran, Executive Director, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and David Johnson, the newly appointed Associate Vice President, Digital Innovation. West-Moynes also confirmed the college will make investments in people, in utilization of external experts, and in engaging employees to help shape the vision and the implementation of new technology and processes that meet our service delivery and academic quality goals.
Additional resources will be provided for teaching, learning and services this year. The first major deliverable is the completion of a comprehensive multi-year digital innovation business plan by March 31 that will go to the board for approval.

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The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas with greater ethnic diversity when compared to areas with lower ethnic diversity as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index.


As the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the region crests towards 2,000 (current 1,750), the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is using an online survey to gauge the virus’ impact on residents.
“The survey is anonymous and no identifiable information will be collected. The survey explores the financial, mental, social, and physical impacts of the pandemic on individuals and families. We will use the results of the survey to help identify where there are gaps or hardships that need to be addressed. We will share a summary of the results of the survey on our website,” says the unit.
For the current week, starting Nov. 15, the unit has already recorded 116 new cases, bringing the current total to 1,750; results are updated Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. Of the total, 1,476 have recovered and the death rate remains at 50.
The suspected impact of Thanksgiving gatherings can now be seen as the unit reported 47 confirmed cases connected to 23 separating holiday gatherings. There were more than 450 new cases reported in October, more than double what was reported in any previous month. 
The seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka steadily increased from early August to early October, from less than one case per day to more than 16 cases per day. The moving average dropped to 12 cases per day in mid-October; however, it then increased to more than 18 cases per day by the end of October. This increase could be due, in part, to gatherings that occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Understanding the pandemic’s trajectory is key to developing policies and procedures related to numbers of people allowed in social gatherings, and workplace openings or closings. The lower the transmission rate, the flatter the curve and subsequent impact on the healthcare system. 
Flattening the curve doesn’t mean people won’t get the disease, but that infections will happen over a longer period of time, keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed. Lowering the transmission rate is key to keeping the virus at bay.
The report shows:
• Over the first four months of the pandemic, from March to June, approximately one-fifth of all cases in Simcoe Muskoka were associated with an institutional outbreak. However, this decreased to less than five per cent in November (to date).
• Residents of long-term care and retirement homes have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, with one-third of cases succumbing to the illness. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details.
• There are currently two active school outbreaks, one at Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School in Angus that is impacting multiple classroom cohorts, and one at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Angus that is impacting two classroom cohorts. These schools remain open for all other students and staff. The outbreak at Hillcrest Public School in Barrie was declared over on Nov. 14. For more information and data about COVID-19 and school impacts, visit the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres website. 
• There were 124 new COVID-19 tests per 10,000 population in Simcoe County and 68 tests per 10,000 population in Muskoka District for the most recent week. In comparison, the provincial testing rate was 172 tests per 10,000 population. 
• The testing rates among Simcoe Muskoka residents have increased for all age groups, with the exception of those 80 years and older, since July when compared with April to June.
• The percent positivity rate in Simcoe County is 1.4% and 0.4% in Muskoka District, compared to the provincial percent positivity rate of 2.2%. This is the highest weekly percent positivity in Simcoe County since May. A low percent positivity rate indicates the outbreak is under control, given more testing is finding a smaller and smaller proportion of positives.
• The percent positivity rate among Simcoe Muskoka adult males between 30 and 59 years of age is approximately twice as high as adult females of the same age. 
Other findings include:
• The effective reproductive number for a given period of time or Rt is the average number of secondary cases that a new case will infect. If Rt is greater than one it indicates that the spread of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka is growing, and if Rt is less than one, the spread of COVID-19 is slowing and containment/mitigation efforts may be working to keep the outbreak under control.
• While the rate of new COVID-19 infections decreased for all age groups until June, from July to September younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years have had the highest rate of infection – more than triple any other age-group.
• The rate of new cases among males was more than five times higher in September when compared to the rates in July and August. The rate of new cases among females tripled in September when compared with July and August.
Highlights of the update are:
• The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka have recovered from the infection.
• Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas that are moderately or well resourced, as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of marginalization on COVID-19 infection in Simcoe Muskoka see the full reportand summary presentation.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas with greater ethnic diversity when compared to areas with lower ethnic diversity as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 infections in culturally diverse areas of Simcoe Muskoka see the full report and summary presentation.
• There are outbreaks in long-term care facilities and retirement home in our area. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details. 
Other information:
Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission
Tables of Case Counts by Age, Status & Transmission
Epidemic Curve by Date of Symptom Onset
Actions individuals can take everyday to protect themselves and others include:
• Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have not travelled outside of the country or who are not self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 and must stay at home.
• Practise physical distancing by keeping two metres between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and tell them your symptoms and if you have travelled.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit used a simulation model developed by the University of Toronto to help us understand the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area. Please see the linked presentation for more details.
In summary, the results suggest:
• Intense physical distancing, or moderate physical distancing with increased case finding and isolation, is the best way to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
• Without physical distancing being applied for at least 12 of the next 24 months, it is projected that Ontario would not have enough hospital ICU beds.
• Applying physical distancing in a repeated way could prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow mental health and economic breaks for everyone.
A repeated cycle of physical distancing would lift physical distancing rules to allow people to return to a more ‘normal’ life and then restore physical distancing rules as cases start to re-appear.

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To make a request for snow clearing or to register as a volunteer to help your neighbours in need, visitSnowAngelsCanada.ca.

As winter prepares to set in, residents requiring assistance clearing snow from drives and walks will be pleased to know they have angels on their shoulders.
Snow Angels Canada (SnowAngelsCanada.ca) wants to connect volunteers with those needing snow removal assistance. Snow Angels Canada is an online platform where residents who require assistance with shovelling snow can post a request for service, and volunteers in their area can reach out to help.
In February 2020, Snow Angels began operating in Barrie with 10 clients and 46 volunteers. Given snowfall predictions for the upcoming winter season, the City is anticipating more people needing support through this program.  
Although the City does not own or operate the online platform, City staff worked with Snow Angels to customize the program for Barrie residents and is encouraging residents to sign up as clients or volunteers at SnowAngelsCanada.ca.
To make a request for snow clearing or to register as a volunteer to help your neighbours in need, visitSnowAngelsCanada.ca.
In September 2019, the City issued an Request for Proposal (RFP) asking the business community to come up with creative solutions to the challenge of winter snow removal (specifically windrows—the pile of snow at the end of a residential driveway created by a snow plow) for people who are not able to clear the snow themselves. The City received three submissions and awarded the RFP to Snow Angels Canada.
This RFP was done as part of the Municipal Innovation Exchange (MIX) partnership. MIX is a partnership with the City of Barrie, the City of Guelph, City of London and is supported by MaRS Discovery District. The goal of MIX is to improve and expand the practice of challenge-based procurement in the municipal sector and create practices that are tested, scalable and sustainable.

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Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The City is kicking in $75,000 for a one-year pilot partnership with Georgian College’s Department of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, aimed at delivering direct programming to businesses and entrepreneurs to aid in COVID-19 recovery. 
“This partnership will help prepare Barrie’s economy long-term in a time of national and global uncertainty,” says Stephannie Schlichter, Director of Economic and Creative Development. “The funding will activate programs and resources that will directly support businesses, building on the existing economic recovery work we’ve completed already in response to the pandemic.” 
The college and City have a long history of collaboration, says Jamie Doran, Executive Director, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Georgian.
“In addition to feeding the ongoing economic development strategy, this new funding will amplify the impact of the City’s previous investments in the college in support of preparing the future workforce to meet employer demand. Georgian is committed to helping the City deliver its COVID-19 Recovery Plan to ensure the continued strength of the Barrie community. We’re excited to use our toolbox to provide innovative solutions to help struggling businesses to adapt to new guidelines and opportunities in the marketplace.”
The partnership will support companies in streamlining processes with advanced technology and help them increase revenues by identifying and developing new markets and opportunities. The programs will also focus on helping businesses execute projects affordably by sourcing skilled workers through co-op placements, leading to increased employment and a stronger talent pipeline from Georgian to local industry.
The $75,000 funding is in addition to $25,000 that Georgian will be receiving from the existing Economic & Creative Development budget. During the one-year pilot, the City will assess the impact of funding, outcomes and benefits to business, with future recommendations for a second year of funding. The programs and resources will be rolled out to businesses in 2021.
To learn more about how the City of Barrie is supporting business recovery through COVID-19, visitbarrie.ca/SupportforBusiness.

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It doesn’t look like a bike/scooter share program is coming to Barrie anytime soon, based on the recommendations of a staff report

City staff will continue to monitor the success of bike/scooter share programs in communities of similar size to Barrie, but expectations seem to be fairly low as no money is being allocated to a feasibility study or pilot program.
In a recent report staff recommended against any financial commitment, saying “the investment in a bike/scooter share program is not anticipated to significantly benefit the community when compared to a similar investment in active transportation infrastructure.”
A year ago, council directed staff to investigate the feasibility of a bike and/or scooter share pilot program, and report back to general committee. On Nov. 2, committee received the report which indicated a share program in a city the size of Barrie might not be that great an idea. Indeed, such programs are collapsing in communities where they have run.
These programs generally operate in large communities, says the report, but even in those cities share programs are being found not to be sustainable.
“In 2020, Kelowna and Kingston both had their private bike share operator cease operations citing little demand for bike rentals and the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. Kelowna city staff noted a need to provide an annual subsidy of $1 million per year to attract a new operator,” says the report.
“The City of Hamilton’s bike share program recently ceased operations on June 1, 2020 as the private program operator chose to terminate their contract early. The program was out of service for one month as city council debated funding alternatives.”
A feasibility study would have cost $70,000 for consulting services. After studying Windsor’s program, it was determined Barrie would need a fleet of nearly 300 bicycles at a cost of $600,000-$800,000 ($2,000 to $2,700 per bike), and an annual operating budget of $300,000-$900,000. Revenue would potentially be generated from rentals and advertising.
For the time being, it appears the share program will remain a nice-to-have, rather than a need-to-have item.

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A major part of the investment will be the new Magna Mechatronics Lab. When complete, this innovative space will be home to students in a variety of programs, particularly those in the new Electromechanical Engineering Technology – Mechatronics three-year advanced diploma program, starting Sept. 2021.


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Georgian College is receiving $1 million from Magna, a Canadian mobility tech company, to help bridge the skills gap, drive change in the field of mechatronics, and prepare students for industry 4.0 opportunities. 
The five-year, multi-faceted agreement will lead to the creation of a new, state-of-the-art facility and new scholarship opportunities for both future and current Georgian students. The partnership also includes exploration of innovative research and development opportunities, programming around co-op and post-graduate employment, and new collaborations in the area of corporate training and recruitment.
A major part of the investment will be the new Magna Mechatronics Lab. When complete, this innovative space will be home to students in a variety of programs, particularly those in the new Electromechanical Engineering Technology – Mechatronics three-year advanced diploma program, starting Sept. 2021.
The space will also naturally extend into joint research projects and Magna employees will benefit from new customized on-demand training. Mechatronics is the interdisciplinary study of electrical, mechanical and computing systems and there is growing demand and a scarcity of talent with this valuable knowledge and skillset. Georgian graduates will be job ready for innovative employers like Magna.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Magna, an employer of choice right here in Central Ontario,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College.
“This investment underscores Magna’s commitment to help develop future-ready graduates, their own workforce as well as support research collaborations to deliver innovative solutions for the benefit of the advanced manufacturing sector. Ensuring Georgian has state-of-the-art equipment and exceptional learning spaces will prepare our students to lead when they graduate into this dynamic, evolving global industry.”
While the new space will be a valuable addition to the Barrie campus, both Georgian and Magna say they are equally excited about other holistic initiatives in the partnership to support regional growth. Magna is focused on a collaboration that will create, sustain and ensure viability in this rapidly changing environment. Georgian’s position as Central Ontario’s hub for innovation, collaboration and commercialization, along with its program diversity, current strength and emerging programmatic focus, aligns with Magna’s key goals.
“The way we can stay ahead in a competitive and constantly changing world is to plan and invest in the future,” said Magna Chief Human Resources Officer Aaron McCarthy.
“At Magna we’re committed to providing students and working people with opportunities to further their education, gain new skills, and bring out the best in themselves. This is a core part of the Magna culture and we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Georgian College.”

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A Barrie man has been arrested and charged in connection with a hit and run that occurred Aug. 9.
On that date around 9:45 p.m., a male was walking in the parking lot of 61 King Street. At this time, a motor vehicle accelerated through the parking lot, struck the male and ran over him. The driver and the vehicle fled the scene and did not stop to render assistance. The victim was subsequently taken to a local hospital and was later airlifted to a Toronto area Trauma Centre where he was treated for life-altering injuries. 
On Aug. 12, officers from the Barrie Police Service responded to an incident where a male was found asleep at the wheel of a motor vehicle. While investigating that incident, one of the officers observed what appeared to be fresh damage to the motor vehicle and found it to be consistent with the pedestrian struck fail to remain motor vehicle collision that occurred on Aug. 9. 
During the course of the investigation, the driver was uncooperative, however, based upon what was observed by police, the motor vehicle was seized and a full forensic examination was conducted. The subsequent examination that was conducted was able to link both the vehicle and the driver to the pedestrian-involved collision. 
Yesterday, as a result of the ongoing investigation, detectives from the Barrie Police Service arrested and charged a 26-year-old male from Barrie with Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle Causing Bodily Harm and Failing to Stop at the Scene of a Collision, contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada. He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice located in Barrie on Jan. 11.

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The new online map shows the streets across Barrie named in honour of local soldiers, indicated by a poppy on the street sign.


The City has launched an interactive online map that residents can use to find some basic information about Barrie veterans who have had streets named after them.
The new online map shows the streets across Barrie named in honour of local soldiers, indicated by a poppy on the street sign. Through the map, residents can learn about local military members who are memorialized through street names across the City, including their occupation, rank, and memorial location. 
From the South African War to present day, many local men and women have given their lives for our freedom. Exploring the map and taking the time to reflect is one way to remember the immeasurable sacrifices these people have made for our country. This map was created using research done by a Simcoe County District School Board secondary school.
Annual Remembrance Day ceremonies were mostly virtual across the country this year; in Barrie instead of the traditional in-person ceremony at the cenotaph, a livestream of a private, invite-only ceremony hosted by Barrie​​’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch was available on local media websites.

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The Budget Allocator is a simple and easy way for taxpayers to learn about City services, and how budget decisions can impact these services. 


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

The City’s budget planners are offering residents an opportunity to share what’s important to them in terms spending, or saving, priorities through the online Budget Allocator.
The resource allows residents to test spending options for many City services by increasing or decreasing the budget for each area, all while maintaining a balanced budget.
Like many other municipalities, Barrie is facing significant financial impacts due to the pandemic. Although 2020 was not business as usual, the City continued to deliver essential programs and services throughout the emergency, including water, garbage/recycling collection, roads, traffic signals, streetlights, libraries, parks, police and fire services, and snow removal.
The effect of the pandemic will be seen beyond 2020. More than ever, the City needs to take action to ensure financial sustainability for future generations.
“We need to make some tough choices about the year ahead. Every day, residents and businesses rely on us to deliver services, and you can help us with the choices around those services. After all, it is your money, so tell us how you want it spent, and help us chart a course for the future of our City,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
The Budget Allocator is a simple and easy way for taxpayers to learn about City services, and how budget decisions can impact these services. Residents are encouraged to use the tool to learn more about City services and share what is important to them.
The resource will be open until Dec. 18. Results will be shared with council during the 2021 Business Plan & Budget deliberations, which will help provide insight into the public’s priorities. Subject to Council’s discussions, the budget is scheduled to be approved on Jan. 25.

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There are currently two active school outbreaks, one at Bradford District High School that is impacting two classroom cohorts, and one at Hillcrest Public School in Barrie that is impacting one classroom cohort.


The suspected impact of Thanksgiving gatherings can now be seen as the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reports 47 confirmed cases connected to 23 separating holiday gatherings.
According to the health unit, which updates Monday through Friday, there have been 111 new COVID-19 cases reported by the health unit so far this week, beginning Nov. 8. There were 141 new cases reported last week from Nov. 1 to 7, which was the highest number of cases reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic. This was the third consecutive week where weekly highs in reported cases were observed above 100.
There were more than 450 new cases reported in October, more than double what was reported in any previous month. As of Thursday, the caseload stood at 1,604 confirmed cases, 1,378 of which have recovered. The total number of related deaths remains at 50.
The seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka steadily increased from early August to early October, from less than one case per day to more than 16 cases per day. The moving average dropped to 12 cases per day in mid-October; however, it then increased to more than 18 cases per day by the end of October. This increase could be due, in part, to gatherings that occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Understanding the pandemic’s trajectory is key to developing policies and procedures related to numbers of people allowed in social gatherings, and workplace openings or closings. The lower the transmission rate, the flatter the curve and subsequent impact on the healthcare system. 
Flattening the curve doesn’t mean people won’t get the disease, but that infections will happen over a longer period of time, keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed. Lowering the transmission rate is key to keeping the virus at bay.
The report shows:
• There are currently two active school outbreaks, one at Bradford District High School that is impacting two classroom cohorts, and one at Hillcrest Public School in Barrie that is impacting one classroom cohort. Both schools remain open for all other students and staff. For more information and data about COVID-19 and school impacts, visit the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres website.
• Over the first four months of the pandemic, from March to June, approximately one-fifth of all cases in Simcoe Muskoka were associated with an institutional outbreak. However, from July to September, one-in-seven new cases reported in October were associated with institutional outbreaks. 
• Residents of long-term care and retirement homes still have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, with one-third of cases succumbing to the illness. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details.
• There were 124 new COVID-19 tests per 10,000 population in Simcoe County and 68 tests per 10,000 population in Muskoka District for the most recent week. In comparison, the provincial testing rate was 172 tests per 10,000 population. 
• The testing rates among Simcoe Muskoka residents have increased for all age groups, with the exception of those 80 years and older, since July when compared with April to June.
• The percent positivity rate in Simcoe County is 1.4% and 0.4% in Muskoka District, compared to the provincial percent positivity rate of 2.2%. This is the highest weekly percent positivity in Simcoe County since May. A low percent positivity rate indicates the outbreak is under control, given more testing is finding a smaller and smaller proportion of positives.
• The percent positivity rate among Simcoe Muskoka adult males between 30 and 59 years of age is approximately twice as high as adult females of the same age. 
Other findings include:
• The effective reproductive number for a given period of time or Rt is the average number of secondary cases that a new case will infect. If Rt is greater than one it indicates that the spread of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka is growing, and if Rt is less than one, the spread of COVID-19 is slowing and containment/mitigation efforts may be working to keep the outbreak under control.
• While the rate of new COVID-19 infections decreased for all age groups until June, from July to September younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years have had the highest rate of infection – more than triple any other age-group.
• The rate of new cases among males was more than five times higher in September when compared to the rates in July and August. The rate of new cases among females tripled in September when compared with July and August.
Highlights of the latest update are:
• The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka have recovered from the infection.
• Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas that are moderately or well resourced, as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of marginalization on COVID-19 infection in Simcoe Muskoka see the full reportand summary presentation.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas with greater ethnic diversity when compared to areas with lower ethnic diversity as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 infections in culturally diverse areas of Simcoe Muskoka see the full report and summary presentation.
• There are outbreaks in long-term care facilities and retirement home in our area. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details. 
Other information:
Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission
Tables of Case Counts by Age, Status & Transmission
Epidemic Curve by Date of Symptom Onset
Actions individuals can take everyday to protect themselves and others include:
• Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have not travelled outside of the country or who are not self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 and must stay at home.
• Practise physical distancing by keeping two metres between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and tell them your symptoms and if you have travelled.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit used a simulation model developed by the University of Toronto to help us understand the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area. Please see the linked presentation for more details.
In summary, the results suggest:
• Intense physical distancing, or moderate physical distancing with increased case finding and isolation, is the best way to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
• Without physical distancing being applied for at least 12 of the next 24 months, it is projected that Ontario would not have enough hospital ICU beds.
• Applying physical distancing in a repeated way could prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow mental health and economic breaks for everyone.
A repeated cycle of physical distancing would lift physical distancing rules to allow people to return to a more ‘normal’ life and then restore physical distancing rules as cases start to re-appear.

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Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

A recent report for general committee’s consideration details the cost and scope of ambitions to develop Barrie’s cycling network into a 335-km system that is estimated to cost $120 million over the next 20 years.
The proposed network includes 64 kms of multi-use pathway, 36 kms of in-boulevard pathways, 45 kms of cycle tracks, 80 kms of buffered bicycle lanes, 70 kms of bicycle lanes, and 41 kms of signed routes.
It follows up on previous efforts to build the City’s cycling network, dating back to 2014 when the City completed its first Multi-Modal Active Transportation Master Plan to foster mobility and active transportation throughout the City.
“This represented a paradigm shift for transportation planning as the MMATMP included a comprehensive City-wide cycling and pedestrian infrastructure network that would be integrated into the planning, designing and implementation of the road network in the built boundary and the secondary planning areas,” reads the report.
In May 2019, council adopted a motion relating to strategies and funding mechanisms to advance “the active transportation portion of the modal share targets in the Transportation Master Plan,” including using a larger share of annual gas tax funding for that purpose. Then, last December council adopted a motion that read:
“As part of the report concerning the Active Transportation Implementation Strategies and Program Development (the recent report) to be presented to general committee in 2020, consideration be given to re-establishing the “City Wide Cycling Network Program” capital project … at $400,000 annually to be funded from the Tax Capital Reserve.”
Since the 2014 master plan, “several kilometres of new active transportation infrastructure have been built. In addition, new policies and plans have been developed by all levels of government that influence how active transportation infrastructure is planned, designed and maintained,” reads the report.
This year the City’s cycling network had its largest expansion ever, with an additional 12.7 km completed (9.4 km finished, 3.3 km to be done before the end of the year). Staff are proposing this fall to add another 5.6 km to the network in 2021.
Staff are also proposing that as part of the 2021-2030 capital plan, a multi-year Cycle Barrie Infrastructure Program be implemented over 10 years, replacing the City Wide Cycling Network Program. The program would be in two phases:
• The first project phase is two years in duration and includes conceptual design and addresses requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. This phase includes public consultation with directly impacted residents, as well broader public consultation.
• The second project phase is 10 years in duration and includes detailed design, property acquisition, utility relocations and construction.
“The impetus for this program is to ensure cycling network expansion continues as there are diminishing opportunities to implement road diets and there are constraints associated with implementing cycling infrastructure through large capital road widening projects (which occur at a slower pace within areas of the City that could benefit most from cycling infrastructure). The program will specifically examine opportunities to implement standalone capital cycling projects apart from large capital road widening projects,” reads the report.
“The intent of the program is to identify and implement cycling infrastructure in areas with the highest population densities and greatest active transportation mode share (current) to obtain the highest return on investment in terms of potential cycling mode share increases.”

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Faced with rising COVID-19 numbers, Barrie has moved to  Yellow-Protect level, as declared by the Province, and on the advice of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
On Nov. 3, the province announced a new colour-coded system for COVID-19 restrictions. Areas with the lowest levels of virus case counts, positivity rates and community transmission are in a green category, with the most permissive rules. Barrie was previously in a green category, but is now being moved to yellow, based on the region’s weekly cases, per cent positivity rate of tests, the speed at which the virus is spreading, and the capacity of local hospital and ICU systems.
What does this mean for residents? The following limitation framework is in place as part of the Yellow-Protect level in Barrie:
• Gatherings are still limited to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, but the health unit strongly advises that people only have close contact with their direct household at this time.
• Workplace screening must take place.
• Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces, at workplaces, and recommended in places when physical distancing is not possible.
• Restrict non-essential travel and think carefully about how often you go out and what outings are essential.
• Monitor for symptoms and stay home if you are sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested.
Local restaurants and bars must follow these additional restrictions:
• Must close at midnight.
• Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• Require contact information for all seated patrons.
• Limit of six people seated together and limit volume of music.
Barrie Recreation/Community Centres, as well as local sports teams, must now implement these additional restrictions:
• Face coverings required except when exercising.
• Space between patrons should be three metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights/weight machines and exercise/fitness classes.
• Team sports and pool activities will maintain three metres distancing while not playing sports.
• There will be a maximum of 25 players on the ice, and a maximum of 18 people allowed in the pool at one time.
• Programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 people outdoors.
• Require contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports.
• Require appointments for entry, one reservation for teams.
See the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework for a full list of measures. Visit the Health Unit’s website for detailed and up-to-date information and steps you should take to stay safe during the pandemic.  

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The Barrie Police Service is investigating an act of mischief that took place at 29 Sperling Drive in the City of Barrie.
The building, which currently houses a COVID-19 testing centre, is the former Barrie Police Service headquarters. Several windows were damaged and broken, pylons and portable toilets had been tipped over on the property. It is not believed that the building was entered.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Barrie Police Cst. L. Opara at lopara@barriepolice.ca.  Any information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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City seeks input on phase 2 of economic recovery plan

The City is also offering opportunities for residents to share their ideas through an online survey, public virtual consultations and the City’s online forum.


The City has launched a campaign inviting residents and businesses to participate in a second phase of business recovery consultations. This phase follows up on initial consultations conducted in the spring and the Economic Recovery Action Plan released in June.
As the pandemic continues, the City recognizes evolving challenges to Barrie businesses brought on by COVID-19. With this next round of consultations, the City hopes to gain new insights into how to better help businesses meet today’s challenges, and how to continue to support local economic recovery.
There are several ways for both residents and businesses to give feedback and share their ideas. One opportunity is through sector-specific virtual consultations, which will provide an opportunity for local businesses in specific industries (such as manufacturing, arts and culture, tourism) to discuss their experiences during the pandemic, and give feedback on how the City and its sector partners can continue to provide support to these industries. 
The City is also offering opportunities for residents to share their ideas through an online survey, public virtual consultations and the City’s online forum. The insights gained will be reviewed and will guide the City in recommending new actions to further support business recovery in Barrie.
To date, the City has already taken several actions to help with economic recovery, including:
• Providing business recovery toolkits
• Launching a “support local” campaign
• Assisting businesses in going digital
• Implementing free downtown WiFi
• Introducing the Business in the Parks program
• Launching the Patios Everywhere program
• Transforming Dunlop Street into a loading zone for curb-side pickup
• Offering a month of Culture Days events
Businesses and residents are encouraged to learn about the different ways to get involved and have their say through buildingbarrie.ca/businessrecoveryphase2.

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Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

Santa Claus is coming to town after all. The jolly one will be parading through Barrie, part of the Santa Tour organized by the Barrie Chamber of Commerce.
The Santa Tour will be shared on the chamber’s social media channels using the hashtag #BarrieSantaTour, starting Nov. 12. It will feature Santa visiting Barrie area businesses and community partners in a series of videos filmed by WylieFord.com.
Community partners and local media are all stepping up to help spread the word, with many of them acting as tour guides for Santa throughout Barrie.
On the tour, Santa will be reminding people to head online to support Barrie & District Christmas Cheer and the Barrie Food Bank because they can’t accept physical donations this year.
He’ll be checking in on the Rock & KOOL Toy Drive drop-off locations to make sure we are all helping to fill those bins for our friends and neighbours in need. And with many of the Santa Tour stops collecting children’s letters, he will also be picking those up personally to make sure he can read every one.
Businesses can still join the tour by visiting http://barriechamber.com/santatour and families are encouraged to watch the tour as it progresses throughout the city by following #BarrieSantaTour – viewers could even win Tim Hortons coffee for a year by engaging with the final compilation video to be released in late December. Full details on the contest will be available on the Barrie Chamber’s Facebook page in the coming weeks.
The annual Santa Claus parade was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 distancing concerns.

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Hey Barrie … ready for Patios Everywhere in November?

“I wish every bit of luck and good weather to the restaurant community able to take advantage of this.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


Businesses have reopened as the COVID-19 lockdown is gradually lifted. Let your customers, new and current, know you are open for business. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

If Mother Nature cooperates, the Barrie patio season may well be extended to the end of November. And if Mother Nurture doesn’t cooperate and old man winter moves in, we may be about to discover just how hardy pub and restaurant patrons are when it comes to braving the chilly elements common to this time of year.
City council last week approved a motion by Ward 2 councillor Keenan Alywin to allow restaurants and bars across the city to keep their patios, or reopen ones already closed, as a measure to support a sector hit hard by COVID-19.
“This was a request that came … from the Downtown BIA, and City staff were working with (them) to solve some issues around snow clearing, and then we realized that it would be an issue also with the paving underway with the Dunlop streetscape. So we wanted to make sure that paving gets done as soon as possible because businesses have waited for too long to have that road open, (and) we didn’t want to delay that any further,” said Alywin.
“We found a compromise position here where patios will be allowed after the completion of the paving if a business is affected by that paving. COVID has hit our local businesses hard, and this is one small way that we can support our local business community, not just in the downtown but across the city with the Patios Everywhere program.”
A staff report explains there are operational challenges to having patios remain open, including the public right-of-way, and “a significant risk to completion of the Dunlop Streetscape Project.” Paving of the remainder of the Dunlop Street project is scheduled to proceed during the next month, in order to finish the job before asphalt plants close for the year.
If the project doesn’t wrap up this year, it would be carried over to next spring. “Essentially it is either patios or paving in the downtown until paving is complete,” reads the report. After consultation with the BIA, it stated a preference for the project to finish this year. The association wants patios impacted by the paving to be able to reopen once the street is done, and the staff report indicates the request can be accommodated.
The motion adopted by council reads:
• That should the weather conditions permit, patios at eating establishments be permitted in the City of Barrie until November 30, 2020, and if there is snow or ice weather conditions that the patios be removed upon 48 hours’ notice from the City.
• That businesses affected by the Downtown Streetscape Project … be permitted to reopen their patios once the paving is complete and upon notification by the City to do so.
• That the Patios Everywhere program continue to November 30, 2020. 
• That enforcement of the Snow Clearing (Downtown) By-law 2008-212 be suspended until the conclusion of the Patios Everywhere Program or November 30, 2020, whichever comes first. However, all Business Owners and or Property Owners within the Downtown Business Improvement Area shall ensure that all snow and ice is removed daily by 10 am as noted in the By-law. 
“All sidewalks, regardless of the presence of patios, would need to continue to (be) clear of snow and ice by 10:00 a.m, regardless of accumulation amount, in accordance with the existing downtown snow-clearing bylaw,” reads the report.
Mayor Jeff Lehman perhaps spoke for many, saying that when the Patios Everywhere program was launched to help a “challenged restaurant sector … we all probably hoped that when this program began that we wouldn’t be talking about it in November, but here we are.”
As COVID-19 cases climb, some areas in the province, including Toronto, have moved back into modified Stage 2 restrictions, including indoor dining. That hasn’t happened in this region, but infection rates are increasing with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit indicating 1,429 in its latest update
“Any business that is able to create a comfortable environment outdoors in November in Barrie (should be given) … kudos for that, and (we should) let them take their shot at doing that because certainly we know that space means safety right now, and space is something that we are able to grant by changing our bylaws and promoting the Patios Everywhere program.
“I wish every bit of luck and good weather to the restaurant community able to take advantage of this.”

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There will be no public ceremony at the Memorial Square cenotaph, as has been tradition in previous years, and residents are advised against gathering at the Memorial Square cenotaph on Nov. 11.


Every year, Barrie​​’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch and the City of Barrie join communities across Canada in commemorating Remembrance Day​.​ This year, the City is asking residents to pay their respects from home or virtually, following the advice of the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.
There will be no public ceremony at the Memorial Square cenotaph, as has been tradition in previous years, and residents are advised against gathering at the Memorial Square cenotaph on Nov. 11. There are several ways to reflect, honour, and remember on Nov. 11, from the safety of your home​:​​
• Tune in to an online or televised ceremony (a livestream of a private, invite-only ceremony hosted by Barrie​​’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch will be available on local media channel websites on Nov. 11)
• Observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. ​
• Wear a poppy and support the Poppy campaign​​
• Learn about Remembrance Day and the stories of those we honour
• Reach out to a veteran by phone or email to say thank you
• Students can s​end a note to a veteran through Postcards for Peace​​
• Submit a photo of a relative or friend to be included on the ​Virtual Wall of Honour & Remembrance
The City honours, remembers, and commemorates Barrie’s fallen soldiers by featuring pictures of local veterans on flags displayed throughout Meridian Place and around the entire waterfront to Tiffin St., as well as through the Barrie’s Fallen database on the City’s website.
If members of the community would like to lay a wreath at the Memorial Square cenotaph, they are asked to place their order with the Barrie Legion by Nov. 4 or they can drop a wreath off at the Legion Hall (410 St. Vincent Street, driveway entrance off of Ferris Lane) between 12 and 4 p.m. on Nov. 10 or prior to 9 a.m. on Nov. 11. The wreaths will be respectfully placed at the cenotaph in downtown Barrie, and anyone wishing to keep their wreath can pick it up from the cenotaph on Nov. 12.
Veterans also ride Barrie Transit free of charge, with one companion, all day on Remembrance Day by showing anything that identifies status as a veteran. For more information on how to safely commemorate Remembrance Day, visit Remembrance Day atbarrie.ca/events

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