The following is an update from the Municipality of Highlands East as of April 7.
As of April 7 2020 we continue to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rise in Ontario and across Canada. Everyone needs to be aware of the seriousness of this situation and do their part to help “flatten the curve” and stop the spread. There has been a substantial amount of information released daily from both the Ontario and Federal governments pertaining to this pandemic. Highlands East would like to re-iterate the importance of implementing these additional safety measures to help slow the spread of the virus and to keep our community members informed.
Physical Distancing Self-Isolating Reducing Exposure & Up-to-Date Information Individuals should stay home except for essential reasons and to limit the number of these essential trips. Essential reasons include accessing health care services and medication grocery shopping walking pets when required and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the above needs. It is strongly recommended that people over 70 years old or who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate and get help with essential errands.
Individuals must strictly practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people and keep at least two meters away from people outside of their household. The Ontario government has prohibited organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people. If you are aware of anyone who is not practicing the appropriate physical distancing or adhering to the social gathering order you are encouraged to contact your local police department or the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. For less serious incidents report online by visiting opp.ca/reporting.
On March 25 2020 the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They must not go to work grocery stores or on walks. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and contact their primary care providers or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) if they experience symptoms. If you wish to file a report regarding non- compliance under the Quarantine Act you are to contact the Public Health Agency of Canada via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-833-784-4397.
Please continue to take 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 and stay home if you are sick.
On Monday April 6 Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that transmission has been happening more often than previously thought right before development of symptoms as well as evidence of asymptomatic transmission. As a result she said the special advisory committee for COVID-19 has determined wearing a non-medical mask can help people prevent transmission to others and protect others. The new guidance shouldn’t replace the public health measures already put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Individuals must continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene by frequent handwashing and regularly disinfecting high- touch surfaces.
If you would like the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic on our personal smartphone devices the Federal government has launched a new app that aims to provide this information. The free app titled Canada COVID-19 provides a brief rundown of what the virus is how it spreads prevention mechanisms and reminds users of what primary symptoms are and how to get help when needed. The app is available for download through the Apple App Store or Google’s Play Store. It gives users travel advice and flags warnings. It also links to the government’s proposed financial supports for businesses and the public. It includes explainers on what constitutes physical distancing and how to practise proper hand hygiene.
Ontario Extends Business Closures
Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government reduced the list of businesses classified as essential and ordered more workplaces to close effective April 4 at 11:59p.m. Only critical construction projects will continue including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop while residential construction that is near completion will continue. Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m.― 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Province Wide Fire Ban An Ontario-wide Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) has been implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) as of 12:01 a.m. on April 3 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This proactive action by the MNRF is to reduce the number of preventable human-caused wildfires to ensure that emergency response capacity is maintained. Minimizing wildfires will ensure the province is able to address any emergency fire situations as well as will reduce necessary contact among staff and between staff and the public.
The RFZ is effective April 3 and will be remain in place until such time that the MNRF can determine that emergency response capacity will not be impacted by COVID-19.
It is important to note that an RFZ applies to all Crown and private land within a municipality as well as provincial parks and conservation areas inside the regulated fire region.
The following is a summary of restrictions that are in place during this fire ban within the restricted fire zone:
• No open fires are allowed unless the fire is for cooking or warmth and is in a stove or installation prescribed in the Outdoor Fires Regulation (O.Reg. 207/96);
• Campfires are not allowed;
• Portable stoves must use liquid or gas fuel and have a shutoff valve;
• A charcoal barbeque can be used if they are permanent structures or portable and within 100 metres of a dwelling you occupy;
• Outdoor wood burning stoves or furnaces must be completely enclosed with solid material and be within 100 metres of a dwelling you occupy.
Seasonal Trailer Parks & Recreational Campgrounds Seasonal trailer parks and recreational campgrounds are not listed as essential businesses and are required to be closed as of April 4 2020. Under this order of the Province seasonal trailer parks and/or campgrounds are not being used for recreational purposes.
For those individuals whose only Canadian residence is at one of these seasonal trailer parks or campgrounds they are permitted to continue their occupancy and complete their mandatory self- isolation as required by the mandatory isolation order made by the federal government under the Quarantine Act which took effect on March 25 2020.
Provincial and Federal Financial Assistance The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs.
Families can complete a simple online application at Ontario's Support for Families web page https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-families to access this financial support. Parents already receiving Support for Parents payments through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application.
Through this initiative the government is providing over $300 million in relief to parents across Ontario as part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
Federally the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is now open. If you have stopped working because of COVID-19 the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
The benefit will be available to workers:
• Residing in Canada who are at least 15 years old;
• Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
• Who had income of at least $5000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
• Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
To deliver payments to Canadians in a fast and easy way the CERB is being jointly delivered by Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency. Please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html for further information on how to apply.