Highlands East Update: April 16

The following is an update from the Municipality of Highlands East on April 16

On April 14 2020 with the approval of the Ontario legislature the Ontario government extended the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days.

The Declaration of Emergency has been extended until May 12 2020. The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders such as the closure of all non-essential workplaces outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas public places and bars and restaurants as well as restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people and prohibitions against price-gouging.

These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and because of this Highlands East is implementing additional facility closures and programming cancellations in order to help slow the spread of the virus and to keep our community safe. We are unclear at this time when the emergency orders will be lifted but at this time we are being proactive and planning for worst-case scenarios.

In an effort to maintain the health and wellness of our community and to adhere to the directives put in place by the Provincial government the Information Centre will not be opening at this time. All non-essential workplaces are to remain closed as well as outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas.

The Information Centre is a popular tourist attraction and with the restrictions put in place by the Ontario government it would be prudent of the municipality to keep the centre closed. Further to the municipality's media release of April 2 geocaching and the mineral collection sites also remained closed. This is a preventative measure for the well-being of all members in our community to promote proper physical distancing practices as well as restricting social gatherings.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health they are asking that we continue to physical distance and to limit social gatherings. These directives may be in place for months to come. The Cardiff Pool will remain closed at this time as it is part of the Provincial order pertaining to outdoor amenities and recreational facilities. As previously stated in a prior media release all public docks throughout Highlands East will remain on municipal property and will not be put into the local lakes.

“These are difficult decisions that have to be made. We did not come to this decision lightly nor did we want it to come to this” states Mayor Burton. “The health and safety of our residents is our first priority. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) felt this was the best option at this time. Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health we need to do all we can to stop the spread of this deadly virus and to protect our community for the months ahead. We have every intention of administering these programs for the 2021 summer season and look forward to the time that the threat of COVID-19 is behind us.”