COVID-19 numbers in the region rising at a concerning rate, hospitals face urgent situation: Mayor Lehman

A state of emergency due to rising COVID-19 cases continues in Barrie and across the province.


“We know we can turn things around, Barrie. We did it in the spring and I know we can do it again.  With vaccinations begun, we need to make that final effort to stop the spread and quite literally save lives.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman

The original state of emergency declared by Mayor Jeff Lehman on March 23 remains in effect following the Province’s announcement that a stay-at-home order will commence on Thursday, effective 12:01 a.m.
The order requires everyone to remain at home and only leave for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. The following measures are part of that order, but are not limited to:
• All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curb-side pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery
• Outdoor organized public gatherings are now restricted to a limit of five people. Mask or face coverings are required in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is recommended outdoors when you cannot maintain physical distance
• Businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home
“The numbers are rising at a concerning rate in our area and our hospital is facing an urgent situation,” said Lehman. “We know we can turn things around, Barrie. We did it in the spring and I know we can do it again.  With vaccinations begun, we need to make that final effort to stop the spread and quite literally save lives.”
What does this mean for Barrie residents? The following framework outlines the City services affected as part of the stay-at-home order. Please note the following is subject to additional input or further restrictions by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). Previous measures remain in effect for City services and now also include the following:
City Hall:
• Starting Jan. 14, no in-person services will be available at Service Barrie (with the exception of Burial Permits). Service Barrie is available via email (ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca) or by phone (705-726-4242). Many services are available online at barrie.ca/OnlineServices. Payments for invoices and bills continue to be accepted through the drop boxes located at the front and back of City Hall
Planning:
• The Planner of the Day is available to answer planning related questions online or over the phone only. Emailplanneroftheday@barrie.ca or call 705-726-4242
Building Inspections:
• The City will suspend inspections that do not meet the criteria for essential construction. This includes residential that did not have a permit before Jan 14
Recreation:
• Parks and outdoor rinks (including volunteer-run rinks) will remain open. Ice surface occupancy protocols remain in place. Adhering to previous direction from SMDHU, signage at each location identifies the maximum number of skaters permitted on the ice surface at one ​time. Hockey is prohibited on all outdoor rinks at this time
• Allandale Recreation Centre, Holly Community Centre, East Bayfield Community Centre, Eastview Arena and Sadlon Arena remain closed to the public. Virtual classes are available for residents who have an existing play.barrie.ca account
Waterfront Trails and Washrooms:
• The City has been maintaining more trails by the waterfront and in Sunnidale Park to create more space for people to exercise outside. The existing winter washrooms at the waterfront remain open
• Barrie Public Library:
• Library branches will continue to offer pick-ups and returns of books and movies, as well as Digital Library access and online programming
Landfill:
• The landfill remains open with a reduced capacity (10 vehicles at a time). Please wear a mask and keep two metres from anyone else while visiting the landfill
City construction projects:
• City construction projects can continue as part of the new province regulations
Enforcement:
• The province has provided authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not comply with Provincial regulations. Those who decide not to abide by orders may be subject to set fines and/or prosecution. City staff continue to take reports regarding by-law violations at 705-739-4241 and enforcement.services@barrie.ca
• In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house
The City is waiting for further direction from the Province regarding any additional changes to enforcement. The City needs the support of Barrie businesses and residents to respect the health restrictions. The enhanced proactive inspections to ensure businesses are meeting all health and safety requirements and regulations will continue.
Businesses must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, including recommendations and instructions on physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting.
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help eligible small business owners during this challenging period. Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services will be able to apply for this one-time grant and use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business.
Visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for more information. Property tax and energy bill rebates for businesses are available here https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs.
If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. For the most up-to-date information on the status of City services, visit barrie.ca/services. For detailed and up-to-date information and local case information, visit the Health Unit’s website.
Additional Resources: Service Barrie: 705-726-4242, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: 705-721-7520 or simcoemuskokahealth.org, Ontario 211: Community and Social Services: call 211 or visit communityconnection.ca, Barrie Police Service Non-Emergency Line: 705-725-7025, Canadian Mental Health Association: cmha.ca, Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca, Barrie and Area Healthcare options: barriehealth.ca/

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