Hi Kitchissippi, I've got a few Covid-19-related items below. Queen's Park has banned gatherings of over five people, By-law has been empowered to enforce that, the City has set up a mechanism to collect personal protective equipment donations (PPE), and the form for pandemic-related tax relief is now online.
Special statements were issued today by the Mayor and Dr. Etches and Dr. Willmore (The Ottawa Hospital). They're important and you can find those here.
We saw 8 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed today, including, unfortunately, a second death attributed to the disease. There are now 130 confirmed cases in the city, with 21 of those in hospital and six of those in intensive care. That latter number is a critical one. We're under self-isolation rules in order to slow the spread of the virus and not overwhelm our ICUs. Many of us will get sick with the virus before a vaccine is introduced, but the goal is to ensure as few of us get sick at the same time as possible since at least some (a
minority, but a significant minority) will require more medical care than bed rest, and we need those resources to be available to save lives.
I wanted to take a quick moment to remind folks of what the new parking rules are. Because many people are at home during the day rather than taking their car to work, the City has ceased enforcement of time limit rules. So, if a street has a maximum three-hour time limit during the week, cars parked all day will not be ticketed while we're in this period of shut-downs. However, all the other parking regulations are in effect, including paying for metered parking. I've gotten a few notes and hope we can all avoid tickets we
didn't think we'd get.
Gatherings of more than five prohibited by Queen's Park
The Government of Ontario yesterday prohibited public events and social gatherings of more than five people. There are some exceptions to that. There's more information here.
By-law receives new enforcement powers
Related to the above, Queen's Park has given By-law officers powers to enforce the new provincial rules now in place. As a result, By-law will be proactively monitoring and enforcing calls related to gatherings of more than five people per the above, people congregating in parks or using park facilities and equipment; restaurants that continue to offer dine-in services and non-essential retail businesses continuing to operate. You can call 3-1-1 to lodge a complaint.
The Ottawa Police Service will continue to be the body enforcing calls realated to federal quarantine orders for those who have been traveling or are experiencing the symptoms of Covid-19. Complaints related to quarantine orders should be reported to the non-urgent Ottawa Police phone line at 613.236.1222 x.7502.
I'll add that I continue to receive notes about the lack of distancing on construction sites. My advice to residents is now to call the Ministry of Labour to make a complaint about an unsafe job site.
For all three of these categories, my caution to residents is that response is likely to be slow.
Personal protective equipment donations
The City has established a new unit to handle the donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by frontline workers while dealing with the pandemic. Only commercial grade PPE will be accepted in its original packaging. There are several priority items. Please see more here.
Tax deferral form now online
Details of how you can take advantage of the tax deferral program passed by Council last week are now online, including an application form to participate. All taxpayers have been granted an interest-free grace period until April 15 to pay their 2020 interim tax bill.
For businesses and residents who have been affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the March 19 (interim) and June 18 (final) bills can be extended until October 30. You must apply for the deferral by July 31.
See full details here.
On that note, I convened a good group of commercial landlords and our two BIAs, along with City participation, today with a focus on those who have storefronts in the ward. It was a good conversation, and I'm encouraged. April 1 is coming, but almost every commercial landlord with whom I've spoken understands that many rents won't be paid either in full or in some cases even partially on Wednesday. It will take time to negotiate with your landlord, but virtually all understand that a big swath of vacant
storefronts on the main street serves no one. I'm here to listen and help if I can, as is your BIA.