Businesses are reopening 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

Barrie’s general committee accepted a staff report this week recommending financial relief for the Barrie Colts dealing with the closure of the Sadlan Arena due to COVID-19. The report recommends that support entail:
• An extension in facility use, advertising and/or concession payment due dates for 60 days, for any payments due prior to June 30, 2020
• A reduction in the next monthly facility use payment amount of $4,000, representing the City’s savings associated with the staff time that was not required due to the final two regular season games of the 2019-2020 season being cancelled
• A commitment to revisit the matter of further potential relief for Horsepower Sports and nEntertainment Group Inc., 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation
The recommendation comes before council on Monday and is expected to pass. According to the report, the Colts approached the City on April 20 to enquire about the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.
“The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program was developed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords. Small business tenants and landlords would each be asked to pay 25 per cent of the tenant’s total rent (i.e., gross monthly rent payable under a lease agreement) and the provincial and federal government would cost share the remaining 50 per cent,” says the report, prepared by Rob Bell, manager of recreation and cultural facilities.
To be eligible for the program, the City needs to meet these conditions:
• Deemed a qualifying commercial property owner
• The forgivable nature of the financial assistance may be dependent on there being a mortgage on the property
• The tenant must also be an eligible small business tenant paying less than $50,000 in rent per month, and have temporarily ceased operation or have at least a 70 pert cent drop in pre-COVID revenue
Details of the program were still being sorted as the report was being written. It’s not clear, continues Bell, whether the City would qualify as assistance programs have not applied to municipalities.
“While Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. has continued to utilize the office areas to administer team and league processes, the Barrie Colts were forced to cancel two of their games and end their regular season early due to COVID-19,” states the report.
“As a result, it is not clear whether Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. would meet the eligibility criteria.”
The Colts have been busy in other endeavours, deploying the kitchen areas to prepare meals, which are then “generously distributed … to the Barrie Food Bank, Salvation Army, the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), and the David Busby Centre.”
Staff prepares about 800 meals a day for these organizations.
The report also recommends the matter of further potential relief be revisited, 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation.
“This would allow the City additional time to review further details that may become available related to the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, impact of COVID-19 in light of the various agreements with Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. and the City’s own financial condition.”

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The City is moving to ban non-electric vehicles from using parking spots with adjacent charging stations

The City is moving to ban non-electric vehicles from parking in 12 charging spots at the Barrie marina and other locations around town, under penalty of potential fines ranging from $50 to $1,000, “based on the nature of the offence.”
The staff report was adopted by general committee this week without comment or debate. Council is expected to ratify the decision this coming Monday.
The motion states that:
• No person shall park a vehicle or any part of a vehicle in an electric vehicle parking space where such vehicle is not an electric vehicle.
• No person shall park a vehicle or any part of a vehicle in an electric vehicle parking space where such vehicle is not connected to an electric vehicle charging station and charging.
It further states that an electric vehicle will be defined as one that runs only on a battery and an electric drive train, or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that runs on a battery and an electric drive train, and also uses an internal combustion engine.
In addition to the 12 spots, (eight for Tesla vehicles and four universal) at the marina parking lot, there are 24 at the Collier Street Parkade (16 Tesla and eight universal), 12 at Heritage Park, (eight Tesla and four universal), and six at the downtown library (four Tesla and two universal).
According to the staff report, owners of electric vehicles expressed frustration at not having dedicated access to the charging stations.
“Signage was installed allowing all vehicles to park at stalls with EV charging stations, including those with internal combustion engines (ICE), because some of the charging stations are located in highly utilized parking lots. Although this practice retained parking supply to meet demand at pinch points along the waterfront, it created frustration for EV drivers when they could not access the charging stations,” reads the report.
“Staff received direct correspondence regarding this issue and collected 58 survey responses. One of the major themes of the feedback concerned the inability to access charging stations due to parked ICE vehicles.”
Under normal circumstances, parking along the waterfront, including the marina lot, is at a premium during the summer, especially during event-filled long weekends like Kempenfest. Marina patrons have expressed their own frustrations over the lack of parking, even if they have purchased a seasonal parking permit.
The lot operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The report says the change is to align the City with provincial legislation preventing “the misuse of charging stations by limiting the use of these parking stalls to electric vehicles that are actively charging.”
However, the report continues that regardless of provincial legislation, “it is the professional opinion of staff that dedication is the best practice because it provides a higher level of service to the growing EV community and it optimizes the use of City assets.”
Other municipalities that have adopted similar measures include Brampton, Burlington, Kingston, London, St. Catharines and Sudbury. Signage informing the public of the parking rules will be installed at a cost of $3,000.
“There is a risk there could be additional costs to retrofit signage once the province releases the supporting regulation for Bill 123 with specifications for EV signage. To mitigate this risk, staff researched and selected a design that is already being used successfully in both the City of London and Province of British Columbia.”
The charging stations were installed following a partnership with Tesla in late 2017, with the automaker donating the equipment and funding the installation costs. The City takes care of operating costs, however, states the report, “electricity costs to date have been far lower than originally anticipated and are partially funded through a sponsorship agreement with the BIA.”
The report did not present information on how many vehicles use the charging stations, but a report from early 2019 said usage was “well below” initial estimates.

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City seeks feedback for business recovery plan

Businesses are reopening 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 of Barrie is asking local businesses and residents for feedback to help develop the COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan. The plan will guide local initiatives and economic investments to help support and accelerate the recovery of local businesses after COVID-19.
“Feedback from our business community and residents will drive the development of the City’s COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan to ensure we’re addressing what businesses actually need from the City to help them recover,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “We’re lucky in Barrie to have a strong, diverse business community and we look forward to working with them to develop creative solutions that will help advance our economic recovery.”
Building on existing work, the COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan will be developed through consultation with local industry, stakeholders, business leaders and the general public. It will target several sectors based upon the size of the sector within Barrie, the severity of impact of the pandemic and the sector’s impact on accelerating economic recovery.
Key sectors include manufacturing, tourism, arts and culture, downtown, construction, and service-based businesses. The actions identified in the plan will support the acceleration of local businesses re-opening after COVID-19 and help bring employees and customers back into local establishments safely and efficiently.
The plan will be designed to be responsive and adaptive to developments in regulations and programming at the provincial and federal levels of government and will be presented to council in June. The COVID-19 Business Recovery Action Plan builds on work already underway to address the immediate needs of businesses and help them respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 as outlined in the City’s COVID-19 Business Response Action Plan.
Businesses and residents are encouraged to have their say through the online survey available at buildingbarrie.ca/BusinessRecovery. The deadline to submit feedback is Sunday, May 24.

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The City of Barrie is reopening more facilities based on this week’s provincial announcement of the amendment to the emergency order.
The City reminds residents to continue to follow public health guidelines: keep practicing physical distancing, no gatherings of more than five people and stay home when you are sick. 
City staff are in the process of preparing outdoor sports facilities and need time to complete all safety inspections and maintenance work before reopening. The City’s webpage about impacted city services (barrie.ca/services) will be updated with information as these facilities reopen.  
The following is a list of what is currently open and closed in the city, in terms of outdoor facilities:
Open: Tiffin Boat Launch, Dog Off-Leash Recreation Area (DOLRA) on Bayview Dr.
Opening soon: Marina, boat launch and Bayfield basin transient boat docks will reopen on Friday. Outdoor tennis courts and the outdoor pickleball court (located at Painswick Park) will reopen by the week of May 25.
Baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, skate parks and the disc golf course will reopen in the coming weeks. Physical distancing of two metres is still in effect and gatherings of more than five people are still not permitted at any time.
Even though sports fields will reopen for individual recreational use (no organized play), Parks & Forestry staff require two weeks to prepare the fields for organized or group activities once the Province lifts restrictions for team/group activities of more than five people on sports fields. There are no sports fields permits being issued for organized sports groups at this time.
• Closed: Beaches, outdoor playground equipment, waterfront fitness equipment and splash pads remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.
Additional Resources: Service Barrie: 705-726-4242; Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: 705-721-7520 or simcoemuskokahealth.org/; Barrie Police Service Non-Emergency Line: 705-725-7025; Ontario 211: Community and Social Services: call 211 or visit communityconnection.ca; 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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Until May 30, you can register for the event at Barrie.defeatdepression.ca

Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is excited to announce its Defeat Depression Events for 2020 are now virtual. In Barrie, MDSC is partnering with RVH Simcoe Muskoka Child and Youth Mental Health Services for its annual campaign.
Defeat Depression is a national fundraising, awareness, and anti-stigma campaign by Mood Disorders Society of Canada that provides hope for people affected by depression and other mental health challenges. Here in Barrie, the local organizing committee hosts an annual event, bringing the community together to raise much-needed funds to support local mental health services and awareness of mental health issues while fighting mental health stigma.
Due to COVID-19, and for the safety of all, participants are encouraged to register and complete a physical activity safely in—or around—their homes, and by sharing their photos or videos on social media with the hashtag #DefeatDepression. 
“With the uncertainty of the current pandemic it is more important than ever to spark conversation and awareness around Mental Health,” said Vanessa Quesnel, Barrie’s Defeat Depression event organizer. “Ensuring that the community of Barrie unites, learns about resources within the community and servicess can help not just them but possibly a friend, family member, or colleague right now or tomorrow is essential. now is the time.”
Until May 30, you can register for the event at Barrie.defeatdepression.ca The $25 fee covers a registration kit that will be delivered safely at a later date. It is a way to show solidarity and financial support for local mental health services at RVH Simcoe Muskoka Child and Youth Mental Health Services and for the national work of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. Once registered, participants can also share their fundraising pages with those who want to want to financially support crucial services right now.
On May 30 at 11 am ET, Barrie Defeat Depression and the national Defeat Depression campaign will be hosting a National Defeat Depression Day Live Stream Event on their Facebook pages featuring guest speakers, lived experience testimonials, musicians performing songs that focus on mental health, and other special guests. 
For more information on getting involved with our local Defeat Depression visit the website at: Barrie.defeatdepression.ca or follow the event at @BarrieDefeatDepression on Facebook and Instagram. 

About Community Partner

RVH Simcoe Muskoka Child and Youth Mental Health Inpatient unit provides crisis stabilization for youth up to 17. A multidisciplinary team cares for Simcoe Muskoka area youth by offering a safe and secure environment for assessment and treatment of young people experiencing significant distress. The Child and Youth Mental Health Day Program provides high school age youth with a safe place to both treat their mental health challenges while continuing their education on an outpatient basis. Both programs strive to provide comprehensive care to the many young people and families in the region impacted by mental health challenges.

About Mood Disorders Society of Canada

The Society fulfills its mandate through an active partnership approach that engages like-minded organizations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The MDSC is engaged on an ongoing basis in a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to support the inclusion of persons with disabling mental illnesses in Canadian society and has taken a lead proactive role in public policy and program development in many capacities on the national stage.

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Changes to parking rules on Dunlop Street will make it easier for downtown businesses and their customers to take advantage of curbside pickups, says the City.
Effective today (May 12), the City is temporarily designating all on-street parking spaces along Dunlop, from Poyntz to Toronto Streets, as loading zones only. This change limits parking to standing for 10 minutes or less and will help maintain traffic flow in the area. The change is in effect until further notice.
On May 6, the Province announced that all retail stores with a street entrance can provide curbside pickup and delivery as of Monday, May 11. Businesses must continue to follow the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Measures Bylaw and ensure all customers maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from anyone outside of their business while conducting pickups. Businesses are encouraged to review the Province’s workplace safety guidelines at www.ontario.ca/reopen.
Residents are reminded that the following parking and traffic impacts are in effect due to the Dunlop Street construction project:
• Mulcaster Street to Owen Street is open to local traffic only and vehicles will have to complete a three-point turn to get out.
• There is no vehicle access or parking available on Dunlop from Maple to Mary streets, and from Owen to Clapperton Street.
• Two-hour free parking is available at the Chase McEachern Way (including 15 Bayfield Street lot) and Maple Avenue Central parking lots. You must print a receipt from the machine and display it on your vehicle dashboard to be eligible for free two-hour parking.
Visit barrie.ca/DigDowntown for more information about construction impacts. 

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Barrie’s landfill is back in action, but only for limited purposes at this time.
The City will gradually reopen the landfill to the public starting later this week to allow residents to drop off garbage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Thursday, May 14, the landfill (located at 272 Ferndale Dr. N.) will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for urgent and essential use only. The Household Hazardous Waste Facility will be open Saturdays only, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Urgent and essential use means waste needs to be disposed of immediately because of legal proceedings (estate closures, separation resolutions, evictions, real estate transactions) or  waste from a recent fire, flood or severe weather situation. 
Residents should expect much longer than usual wait times, especially on peak days such as Saturday, as there will be a limit on how many customers will be allowed on site.
The following safety measures will be in effect at the landfill during this time to protect the public and City staff:
• If you are sick, self-isolating due to symptoms or have recently returned (within 14 days) from travel, do not visit the landfill.
• No cash will be accepted for payment, only debit or credit card (tap preferred).
• Physical distancing of two metres is required at all times.
• Mattresses and textiles (clothing) are not being accepted at this time.
• Sale of compost, composters, mulch and garbage bag tags will not be available at this time.
• Pick up of recycling boxes and green bins is currently unavailable. New residents who need boxes or bins can call 705-739-4219 to request delivery to their home. 
• If you are visiting the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, please place hazardous waste material on the table and respect physical distancing.
To maintain essential curbside collection, Waste Connection vehicles will be given priority entry to the landfill. Regular fees apply at the landfill—loads of up to 100 kg of solid waste garbage are $10, loads of 100 kg and over are $150/tonne. Visit barrie.ca/landfill for details and rates.

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“With the nice weather finally arriving, we recognize people want to get outside, and your City wants to do what it can to provide extra space for people to enjoy the outdoors safely.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman.

Cyclists and pedestrians will have a section of Lakeshore Drive reserved for them, as the City moves to promote physical activity.
Starting May 14, the northbound lane of Lakeshore from the Tiffin Boat Launch to Victoria Street will be temporarily converted into additional space for pedestrians and cyclists. This will provide more space for people to be active and enjoy the outdoors, while maintaining a safe physical distance. The detour for vehicles will be along Bradford Street and Victoria Street.
“With the nice weather finally arriving, we recognize people want to get outside, and your City wants to do what it can to provide extra space for people to enjoy the outdoors safely,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“If you’re feeling healthy, go enjoy our wonderful parks and waterfront—but don’t congregate and keep your distance from those outside your family. Use this new space on Lakeshore or walk on the grass—we have lots of public space, so let’s spread out and use all of it.”
The northbound lane of Lakeshore Drive will be closed from Tiffin Street to Victoria Street; local traffic will be permitted to access the Tiffin Boat Launch. Parking lots along Lakeshore Drive will still be accessible from southbound Lakeshore Drive. The duration of the closure will be reviewed on a weekly basis based on traffic volumes as the Province gradually re-opens the economy. 
All motorists travelling on southbound Lakeshore Drive are encouraged to be cautious and take extra care, especially when entering parking lots as pedestrians and cyclists are occupying unfamiliar locations.

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On Monday, United Way Simcoe Muskoka launched the second phase of its Urgent Needs Fund, a pilot project that ran from Oct. 1, 2019 to March 31. In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urgent Needs Fund is being expanded to help more Simcoe Muskoka residents.
“United Way Simcoe Muskoka has been here for the most vulnerable in our communities for more than 60 years,” says Dale Biddell, CEO of United Way Simcoe Muskoka.
“As COVID-19 changes our way of life, there are people looking for assistance who have never had to ask for help before. Our new Urgent Needs Fund is there for those who need it right now, whether that be due to the current pandemic or any other life circumstances.”
The Urgent Needs Fund is available to assist low-income households and those affected by the novel coronavirus. This assistance comes in the form of prompt, one-time grants when existing services and resources are unable to meet the basic or emergency needs of an individual.
To ensure this financial assistance is available to all residents of Simcoe Muskoka, the agency has partnered with six Regional Agency Leads to help distribute funds to recipients: CONTACT Community Services, Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area, Catholic Family Services Simcoe County, Chigamik Community Health Centre, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre and the District Municipality of Muskoka.
In addition, Community Connection 211 Central East is handling the intake, assessment and client impact, as well as the data collection to help better understand local needs.
“The Urgent Needs Fund has already assisted hundreds of residents across our region to cover basic needs at a time when they need it most,” says Rosslyn Junke, UWSM Director of Community Impact. “We are delighted to partner with Community Connection 211 Central East, the District of Muskoka and our Regional Agency Leads on this important work to provide vital supports for Simcoe Muskoka residents.”
To apply for assistance, individuals living in Simcoe County are encouraged to contact 211 Ontario (dial 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca) and those who live in Muskoka are encouraged to contact the District of Muskoka (705-645-2412 or visit https://www.muskoka.on.ca/en/district-government/covid-19-help.aspx).
If existing services are unable to provide assistance, an individual may then be eligible for the Urgent Needs Fund.

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Michael Prowse, Barrie CAO

In his latest COVID-19 update to city council, CAO Michael Prowse says 818 incidents were investigated by bylaw officers between April 27 and May 3.
The majority of the cases came from routine patrols. Bylaw officials received 111 complaints through its dedicated COVID-19 Enforcement line.
With the Province giving the OK for some businesses and workplaces to reopen on Monday (May 4), Prowse said the City can expect increased calls for service for enforcement.
“There will be added complexity for enforcement agencies associated with interpreting whether a business or workplace is permitted to open and if so, whether the strict safety guidelines have been met. This is expected to increase the amount of staff time required to address enquiries and complaints.”
The total number of instances included 633 from routine patrols. Of those, 462 did not result in a violation. Of the 154 violations, the majority related to dogs-off leash, children playing on playground equipment, use of closed sports fields, as well as non-COVID-19 related matters such as smoking in parks, said Prowse.
The following is a breakdown of the complaints received from the public: gatherings, 66; park equipment use, 17; businesses, 16, two-metre distance, 12. Two charges were laid last week for entering park areas/amenities where the area was closed.
Since measures were enacted in March, the total number of instances addressed by Municipal Law Enforcement related to COVID-19 is 3,837.
On April 3, the City set up a dedicated COVID-19 Enforcement Line for the public to report instances of non-compliance with the COVID-19 emergency orders. Members of the public can call the COVID-19 Enforcement Line at 705-739-4241 or email at enforcement.services@barrie.ca.
Other items in the update included:
Together At Home: Recreation and Culture Services have been working with Access Barrie to develop an initiative, Together at Home, which is an assortment of online content to provide residents with weekly activities to beat boredom and lift spirits. The online content is available at Barrie.ca/recreation.
Cancellation of Canada Day fireworks: Barrie’s 2020 Canada Day fireworks will be cancelled due to COVID-19 and the restrictions on large gatherings. Canadian Heritage is planning a virtual show that would allow Canadians to watch performances by Canadian artists and other programming remotely on July 1. Additional details are coming.
Free garbage tags: As of May 1, 5,987 requests for free tags had been submitted, with 4,851 mailed out. The City asks that only one additional bag (with a tag) be used per garbage collection week. Many items can be diverted to your green bin and recycling bins.
Financial hardship: Applications are available on the City’s website for elimination of the fixed charge on the next water and wastewater bill. As of May 4, 2,320 applications for elimination of the fixed charge have been received. Residents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as there is limited funding available for this program. Landlords are required to pass the water bill relief to tenants if water charges are included in their rent.
Community Heroes: The City has launched Community Heroes, an online campaign to showcase appreciation for the many acts of kindness that members of the community have experienced during this unprecedented time. #BarrieHeroes is a way for residents to share photos and stories about the many different heroes that emerge in a time of crisis, including those who have gone to work so most can stay home, the essential workers on the front lines, and the people who’ve shown strength of character helping others. To submit a story and share a picture visit barrie.ca/heroes or use the #BarrieHeroes on social media.
Service level impacts: Due to extended cancellation of several non-essential services and resulting financial impact, the City temporarily laid off additional positions and redeployed other positions. In total, over 500 City staff positions have been affected since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Loss of revenue: The CAO told council on Monday that the City is looking at a projected loss of $65 million in revenue by the end of the year because COVID-19. The City’s current lost revenue is about $1.7 million.
“It is important to note that it will take several weeks or longer, to ramp service levels back up once Province announces openings. This is due in part to the fact that the way services operated in the past will likely need to be adjusted to address physical distancing requirements or other health and safety matters for the public and staff. In other areas, service levels may look very different in 2020 than in previous years due in part to the reduced staff complement.”

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Canada Day in Barrie is going ahead, but just not the way residents have experienced in the past.
The City of Barrie will present a virtual Canada Day this July 1 so that residents can enjoy programming from the safety of their own homes.
“At the advice of the Health Unit, the City’s Emergency Operation Control Group has made the difficult decision to cancel the traditional Canada Day festivities,” said Michael Prowse, CAO.
“We know this event is one that many look forward to, but the health of our citizens comes first. Our staff are working hard to provide residents with a way to still celebrate our great country online instead of in-person.”
Each year, the Canada Day festivities and fireworks draws crowds of up to 40,000 people to Barrie’s downtown and waterfront. At this time, the Emergency Order is still in place which prevents gatherings of more than five people and even if it was lifted in time for Canada Day, this type of event creates a challenge for attendees to maintain a two metre distance from each other. Cancelling now, the City avoids issuing refunds or paying penalties to vendors.
City staff are currently planning the virtual Canada Day programming. More details will be shared, once they are available.

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Theft from vehicles up during April, police report

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Barrie police are reporting a significant jump in thefts from vehicle during April, and remind owners to secure their vehicles.
While people are spending more time at home, it doesn’t remove the need to keep vehicles and valuables secure. Most of these thefts have occurred in residential areas in the overnight and early morning hours.
The Barrie Police Service Crime Prevention Unit has a few reminders to help keep your belongings secure:
• As part of your before-bed routine, ensure your vehicles are locked.
• Don’t keep valuables in your vehicle. If you have to travel with valuables, make sure they are out of sight and not visible from outside the vehicle.
• Never leave your wallet/financial cards in your vehicle.
• Secure any valuables that are outside of your residence and close your garage door when you aren’t outside.
• Exterior lighting and home security cameras can help deter would-be thieves from approaching your vehicle.
• Don’t leave personal identification, vehicle registration, insurance certificates or financial cards in your vehicle.
If you have had a theft from your vehicle, it can be reported online at any time on the Barrie Police website: https://www.barriepolice.ca/services/
Anyone who may have information related to a theft from a vehicle, please contact the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 ext. 2550. Information can be also provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.
For more information on Crime Prevention, please visit our website at: https://www.barriepolice.ca/safety-crime-prevention/

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The Barrie Police Service is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect who is wanted for the theft of a van. 
On March 26, police attended to a business located on Ferndale Drive North after the owner discovered that one of company vans had been stolen from the Rona parking lot located at 61 Mapleview Drive West. The van, which is described as a 2000 Ford Econoline, black in colour was fully decaled with the company’s Plumbtec logo on it and had been parked in the northwest portion of the parking lot for advertising purposes on March 23.
The following day at 9:38 p.m., the van was used in a theft of gas from a service station located on Commerce Park in Innisfil. On April 2, police located the van parked in the rear lot of the Kozlov Mall located at 400 Bayfield Street. The van did not appear to have been damaged other than the driver’s side door lock being removed; none of the van’s contents was missing. 
As a result of the ongoing investigation, police have obtained video surveillance from the initial theft located on Mapleview Drive West, the theft of gas location abandoned and on Commerce Park in Innisfil and from the Kozlov Mall where the van had been parked. 
A suspect image has been located from video obtained from the Kozlov Mall and police are attempting to identify this person who is described as: male white, 25-35 years old, full brown beard with moustache; wearing a dark coloured work jacket with a hood, dark jeans and light coloured work boots. 
Anyone who may have information to please contact the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025 ext. 2634 or email the investigating officer at mmellish@barriepolice.ca. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or you can leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit currently has 259 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 137 recovered, eight hospitalizations and 15 deaths.
Changes from the previous reporting day (April 24) include 24 new cases. There were 13 previously reported cases that have now recovered. There are outbreaks in four long-term care facility in our area, see the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details.
There is also an outbreak of COVID-19 in a group home in our area.
Each of us can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and across the region. There are everyday actions we should all use to protect ourselves and others. These actions are very important because:
• We are seeing cases caused by community transmission of COVID-19, which means the virus is spreading in the community from person to person and is not linked to travel or a previously known case.
• Our local cases are increasing and will continue to over the next days and weeks.
• This is not just a disease affecting the elderly, most of our cases are among adults between 35 and 64 years of age. 

Everyday actions to protect yourself and others 

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.
• 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 or 6 feet 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.
Status of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit cases updated daily Mon – Fri. Subscribe to the unit’s YOUTUBE channel to watch daily weekday media briefings with our Medical Officer of Health.

Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission

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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The continuing search for a downtown location for a supervised consumption site (SCS) has been out on hold until further notice due to resource challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit have been actively responding to the current COVID-19 outbreak with the re-deployment of staff and resources to address the needs of the community.
“Unfortunately at this time, neither organization has the capacity to actively continue the work of this application process,” wrote Mia Brown, Acting Program Manager of the Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, in an April 8 memo to council.
The health unit and the mental health association are co-applicants for a site. Discussion last year focused on a proposed site at 90 Mulcaster Street. The applicants are no longer considering that location.
At its last meeting on Feb. 24, the Barrie SCS Site Selection Advisory Committee were presented with a number of site options from local realtors, all of which are located in Ward 2. The committee, according to the memo, continues to investigate the options.
“At the last meeting, the committee reviewed the mitigation strategies from other operating CTS/SCSs across Canada, and compared strategies that were created based on the January-March 2019 Barrie community engagement and consultations. New mitigation strategies will be created based on this scan of those sites, and will include the feedback from the community consultation report for this application process,” writes Brown.
Because of resources allocated to the COVID-19 crisis, a planned April 27 presentation to council has also been cancelled. 
“Please know that this was a difficult decision to be made, and thoughtfully considered, we hope that our community understands our need to pause this work in order to address this evolving pandemic. We intend to resume the SCS work as soon as the situation permits.”

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City cuts residents some slack on their water bills

Barrie residential water/wastewater account holders who have suffered from financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 can now apply to eliminate the fixed charge for water and wastewater on their next bi-monthly bill.
To apply, visit Water Billing at www.barrie.ca/WaterServices and complete the Residential Water and Wastewater Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Request form. Residents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as there is limited funding available for this program. Landlords are required to pass the water bill relief on to tenants if water charges are included in their rent.
In addition, the payment due date grace periods have been extended from 35 to 63 days for all residents, and from 30 to 63 days for all businesses for the next two billing periods (effective April 23, 2020). The extended due date will be indicated on all water/wastewater bills.
The City will continually update its website at barrie.ca/Services as the situation changes. 
Resources:
• Service Barrie: 705-726-4242 or servicebarrie@barrie.ca
• Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: 705-721-7520 or simcoemuskokahealth.org/
• Ontario 211: Community and Social Services: call 211 or visit communityconnection.ca
• Canadian Mental Health Association: cmha.ca
• Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca

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Michael Prowse, Barrie CAO

On April 17, the City of Barrie temporarily laid off 55 more workers (25 temporary positions, five permanent part-time and 25 permanent full-time positions), saying the layoffs are necessary due to the extended cancellation of several non-essential City services and the resulting financial impact. 
The City has redeployed 17 staff from areas not deemed essential at this time to essential functions. In addition, to this the City and union have agreed to requiring reduced work weeks by one day per week for employees in most areas of the corporation. These steps have prevented a significant number of layoffs. 
 “These are incredibly tough decisions that we are being forced to make during unprecedented times,” says Michael Prowse, CAO. “I have a great amount of respect for our staff and the jobs they do each day. Unfortunately, not unlike other organizations, we’ve had to drastically change the way we operate in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.” The City has two revenue sources—property taxes and user fees for services including recreation, transit and parking. The City’s budget, including employee salaries, is based in part on these user fees.
Community centres have been closed since March 13 and will not open until at least June 30. The City has been offering free transit since March 20 and not enforcing paid parking. As a result, this past month, the City has lost roughly $1.7 million in revenue and projects a reduction in our cash flow of $65 million by year end.  
“We are in a very difficult financial situation without the ability for federal and provincial financial programs and the requirement for municipalities to balance our books each fiscal year. We owe it to taxpayers to do what we can to minimize the long-term impact of this crisis. I would like to thank the CUPE executive for their work and acknowledgement of the difficult situation we are facing,” says Prowse.
The City will continue to maintain all essential services citizens rely on every day. For the latest updates to City services, visit www.barrie.ca/Services.

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Easter letter to Barrie residents from Chief of Police Kimberley Greenwood

Barrie Chief of Police Kimberley Greenwood

With the long weekend approaching, we know that this holiday will be very different to previous years. As with every holiday, our officers will continue to serve our community, responding to emergencies and calls for service at all hours. While we won’t be able to have large family gatherings, we can still stay in touch over digital screens and phone lines, rather than in person. It will be different, but it doesn’t have to be any less meaningful.
It is more important than ever to remember that we can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and practicing good hand hygiene. Although most people are following the orders to stay home and not gather in groups greater than five, there are some who are not adhering to these orders. If you have concerns over individuals not following COVID Emergency Orders, we encourage you to call the Enforcement Line at 705-739-4241 or by email atenforcement.services@barrie.ca.
The Enforcement Line is a partnership between the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the City of Barrie Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and the Barrie Police Service to effectively address all concerns. Issues are handled on a priority basis, with the most urgent calls or those that require police presence being addressed first. Police and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers are providing members of our City education and awareness. The majority of people we have dealt with have been more than willing to comply when advised of the new legislation. Police do have the ability to issue a fine of $750 to $100,000 for non-compliance and we are not taking this authority lightly. We recognize that voluntary compliance is preferable; however, fines will be issued if necessary. I encourage everyone to continue to keep informed on the Emergency Orders and follow them. This will help keep everyone safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Our Service has adjusted to assist protecting the health of our members, and the public. I can assure you that as always, those in the City of Barrie can depend on the Barrie Police Services during this challenging time. We have redeployed resources, adjusted shift schedules and implemented screening processes of our members and the public we interact with to ensure continuity of policing services. With numerous businesses closed, unfortunately some individuals are taking advantage and commit crimes of opportunity. Our Officers are continuing to deal with those involved, conducting thorough and complete investigations.
If you do have to engage in essential travel outside of your home this weekend, please be sure to practice physical distancing, and good hand hygiene.

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At about 1:30 a.m. this morning, Barrie Police responded to a report of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian in the area of Mapleview Drive, east of Bayview Drive.
The 20-year-old victim sustained serious injuries, and was taken to a Toronto-area trauma centre in critical condition. The vehicle involved stayed on scene. The investigation is continuing and more information will be provided as they become available.
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision, or who may have more information to contact Constable D. Avery at 705-725-7025 extension 2912 or by email at davery@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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“By implementing this new bylaw, it’s our hope that our City will help Ontario and Canada slow the spread of COVID-19. We all need take this seriously now for the health of our families, our friends and our community. If you have to go out for essential needs, only send one member of the household, stay apart and be safe.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman


Barrie residents not complying with COVID-19-related distancing measures face significant penalties for noncompliance.
On Friday, Mayor Jeff Lehman signed the Barrie COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-law to help protect the health and safety of residents. The new bylaw prohibits certain activities and regulates physical distancing to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Individuals not adhering to physical distancing regulation can be fined a minimum of $500 and maximum of up to $100,000 for each offence.
Municipal regulations under the by-law include:
• Prohibiting people from maintaining less than a 2.0 metre distance from one another on any public property (other than people they live with)
• Prohibiting businesses to operate in a manner that would allow people to be seated or to be standing less than two metres apart whether inside or outside the business (other than people they live with)
• Prohibiting people from using any of the following City property: playgrounds and other structures in parks such as benches, pavilions and shelters; dog-off leash areas; picnic areas; community gardens; outdoor sports facilities and outdoor fitness equipment, including sports fields, basketball, pickleball, disc golf, skateboard parks and tennis courts.
“Barrie is continuing to ensure our citizens stay home and stay safe,” says Mayor Jeff Lehman. “By implementing this new bylaw, it’s our hope that our City will help Ontario and Canada slow the spread of COVID-19. We all need take this seriously now for the health of our families, our friends and our community. If you have to go out for essential needs, only send one member of the household, stay apart and be safe.”
If residents wish to report a non-compliant business, the use of public amenities that are closed or gatherings of more than five people, they are asked to call 705-739-4241 or email enforcement.services@barrie.ca. A bylaw enforcement officer and/or security personnel will investigate the complaint to ensure compliance and may lay charges when appropriate. For emergency matters, please call 911.
For the latest updates to City services, visit www.barrie.ca/Services.

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in the region.
It is also reporting 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 20 recovered, 11 hospitalizations and four deaths. Changes from the previous reporting day include five new cases, four in self-isolation and one in hospital. Three additional cases have now recovered. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details.
The region’s public health authorities are saying there is evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in the region, which means the virus is spreading in the community and is not linked to travel or a previously known case.
That means the number of cases are expected to rise over the next days and weeks. Due to this, public health is unable to monitor how the virus is spreading from person to person and this makes it more difficult to slow its spread.
“This is not just a disease affecting the elderly, most of our cases are among adults between 35 and 64 years of age. This makes it even more important that people protect themselves and others by staying home and assuming that you and everyone around you may be carrying the virus. If we all do this, as well as continue to maintain physical distance of two metres from others and wash our hands frequently, we will be putting less people at risk and can flatten the curve,” says the unit.
Anyone who has new cold-like/respiratory symptoms (regardless of travel history), and has not been tested for COVID-19, is to self-isolate at home for 14 days. If your symptoms worsen, seek clinical assessment over the phone – either by calling your primary care provider’s office or Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario will direct you to in-person care options.
Status of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit cases updated daily Mon – Fri. Subscribe to the unit’s YOUTUBE channel to watch daily weekday media briefings with our Medical Officer of Health.
Protect yourself and others
Stay home: Avoid all non-essential trips into your community
Practise physical distancing: Physical distancing means keeping two metres or six feet between you and another person. Everyone should practise physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Everyone should do their best to avoid close contact with people outside of their immediate families.
Practise proper hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, sneeze and cough into your sleeve, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

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Barrie residents not complying with coronavirus-related distancing orders may find themselves on the receiving end of a visit by authorities now that the City has established a dedicated COVID-19 Enforcement Line.
The line has been set up for the public to report instances of non-compliance with the COVID-19 emergency orders. Members of the public can call the COVID-19 Enforcement Line at 705-739-4241 or email at enforcement.services@barrie.ca.
Phone call volumes to the COVID-19 Enforcement Line may require you to leave a message. Please note that calls or emails received after 8 p.m. may be actioned the next day depending on available resources. For emergency matters, please call 911.
Once received, the complaints will be tracked and addressed by Barrie Municipal Law Enforcement officers, in collaboration with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Public Health Inspectors and the Barrie Police Service.
The City will investigate the following:
• Use of City-owned amenities (including playground structures, skateparks, etc)
• Gatherings of five or more in a public space
• Non-essential businesses that are providing in-person services to the public
The City’s enforcement staff are currently conducting proactive patrols of all city parks. It is an offence to fail to comply with an emergency order. The maximum punishment is one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a director of a corporation, or $10,000,000 for a corporation.
Provincial Government Information Lines:
• Stop the Spread Business Information Line – a toll-free line (1-888-444-3659) for anyone with questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment.
• A Price Gouging hotline is also available. 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.
Everyone in Ontario should be practicing physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within two metres) with people outside of your immediate families. If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.
Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
• Avoid contact with people who are sick
• Stay home if you are sick.
Additional Resources:
• Service Barrie: 705-726-4242
• Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: 705-721-7520 or simcoemuskokahealth.org/
• Barrie Police Service Non-Emergency Line: 705-725-7025
• Ontario 211: Community and Social Services: call 211 or visit communityconnection.ca
• Canadian Mental Health Association: cmha.ca
• Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca

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“Our goal is to maintain service coverage throughout the entire city and maintaining the daily hours of operation we provide today. By moving to hourly service, we can provide a sustainable and reliable schedule that riders can depend on during these times. It’s extremely important we maintain this critical service so people can get to essential workplaces and grocery shopping.” – Brent Forsyth, Director of Transit.

Barrie Transit riders are getting a free ride as the City continues to respond to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Transit service will continue to be free until April 30, and starting April 6 will move to an hourly service. Buses will run from approximately 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday. The Sunday services will remain hourly services from approximately 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Also, as of April 6, the Downtown Bus Terminal will be closed until further notice.
“Our goal is to maintain service coverage throughout the entire city and maintaining the daily hours of operation we provide today,” said Brent Forsyth, Director of Transit. “By moving to hourly service, we can provide a sustainable and reliable schedule that riders can depend on during these times. It’s extremely important we maintain this critical service so people can get to essential workplaces and grocery shopping.”
The City has been putting increased measures in place to protect drivers and riders during this time. Free transit allows riders to board the bus from the back doors, which limits the contact between riders and drivers. People with accessible needs can continue to board using the front doors. To further encourage physical distancing, every other seat is taped off and buses are limited to no more than 15 passengers. Staff continues increased sanitizing practices on all Barrie Transit buses.
Barrie Transit has been offering free services since March 20. Refunds or credits for March and April transit monthly pass purchases will be provided on a prorated basis for the period of time Barrie Transit was free to the public. Riders should hold on to their March/April transit pass. Refunds or credits will be provided when the City is able to resume public facing services to the community.
Please consult MyRideBarrie.ca before departing on your trip to track your bus. Barrie Transit may be experiencing intermittent service issues on some routes. Please avoid all unnecessary travel. Do not use public transit if you are feeling unwell, or you have travelled outside Canada within the past 14 days.
For the latest updates to City services, visit www.barrie.ca/Services. For updates and information on COVID-19, visit simcoemuskokahealth.org/.

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Andrew Cywink, a Research and Innovation Technologist at Georgian College, wears one of the single-use face shields he helped create using fabrication equipment in the Alectra Centre for Research, Innovation and Commercialization, located within Georgian’s Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre. Over 600 face shields were donated to the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie. (Georgian College photo)

Georgian College is donating critical supplies to frontline healthcare workers and using the skills of its Research and Innovation team to manufacture temporary face shields.
With the college’s Health and Wellness programs being delivered through remote delivery, the college has been redeploying personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to health partners.
“We’ve mobilized a phenomenal team effort across the college to collect the PPE supplies we are not currently using, including gloves, masks and gowns,” said Fay Lim-Lambie, Dean, Health, Wellness and Sciences.  “As a result, more than 105,000 individual PPEs will benefit health partners in need – including hospitals and long-term care facilities.”
Georgian’s Research and Innovation team also saw an opportunity to use innovative technology to meet the need for temporary face shields for the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie until new PPEs can be mass produced. Two local manufacturers – Innovative Automation and Molded Precision Components – are also re-tooling their operations to start production of PPEs.
Production of more than 600 face shields took place this week with the help of Research and Innovation Technologist Andrew Cywink and Jared Bergsma, a Mechanical Engineering Technology student, who was able to help remotely on the project. Bergsma is doing his co-op in the Alectra Centre for Research, Innovation and Commercialization (C-RIC), located within Georgian’s Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre.
“Our friends at Georgian College were one of the first to respond to our request for PPE, jumping in enthusiastically to lend support in this challenging time,” said RVH Foundation CEO, Eric Dean, whose team is spearheading community donations and PPE collections. 
“RVH and Georgian College have a long-standing partnership on many initiatives and this latest collaboration further demonstrates this remarkable relationship. We are incredibly grateful for their support in this unprecedented time.”
The college intends to help companies co-ordinate with RVH as new needs arise,” said Mira Ray, Director, Research and Innovation at Georgian. 
“We can also be on call to produce short-run items that the hospital or any medical clinic, health-care provider, or essential service the health-care sector needs.” 
To help with this effort, Georgian is looking for donations of raw materials, such as PET or PETg  (a polyester film made from polyethylene terephthalate) that could be used to manufacture more face shields.  If any companies would like to donate, they can reach out to researchandinnovation@georgiancollege.ca.

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Recognizing that household waste levels may be higher now that residents are staying home due to coronavirus distancing measures, the City is offering three free garbage tags to households who need them.
Residents who require garbage tags can email garbagetags@barrie.ca or call Service Barrie at 705-726-4242 and provide their name and address. Tags will be mailed out. Three garbage tags per residential address can be requested. The City asks that only one additional bag (with a tag) be used per collection week. The deadline for tag requests is June 30, and residents may only make a request once during this time period.
Currently in Barrie, curb-side collection is occurring as scheduled, wit​h the usual limits: two standard size bags every other week (max. weight of 45 lbs. per bag), and unlimited green bins and recycling boxes every week. If you have additional garbage, the additional bag must be tagged with a City garbage tag and attached to the neck of the garbage bag. Tags cannot be affixed to bulk items.

Keeping drivers safe:

In an effort to keep curb-side collection drivers safe during this time, the City is asking residents to place facial tissues, paper towels and napkins in a securely tied garbage bag instead of the green bin.
We also remind residents to sort garbage, green bin and recycling material properly, and ensure that cleaning wipes go in the garbage. They cannot go in the green bin and should not be flushed. If not sure where an item goes, check the City’s online look up tool at www.barrie.ca/WhereDoesItGo.  
All collection trucks are equipped with sanitizer and the contractor has masks and gloves available for all collectors.
In addition, the City’s annual Spring into Clean events that happen in late April have been cancelled. The City will continually update its website at barrie.ca/StayHome as the situation changes. For updates and information on COVID-19, visit simcoemuskokahealth.org/.
Useful resource numbers:
• 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
• Canadian Mental Health Association: cmha.ca
• Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca

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