COVID 19 UPDATE from Town Hall - December 23, 2020

Dear Westport Residents and Business Owners

A province wide shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 am.

The restrictions are in effect for all of Ontario from Saturday, December 26, 2020 to Saturday, January 9, 2021. The restrictions will remain in effect from Saturday, January 9, 2021 to Saturday, January 23, 2021 for Southern Ontario.

The number of people in Ontario infected with COVID-19 has been increasing, people are moving from high transmission areas to low areas like ours, and hospitals are reaching capacity across the province. The shutdown is designed to reverse this trend by reducing opportunities for the spread of COVID-19 through close contact with infected people.

This decision was not an easy one for the Premier and cabinet to take. The government’s expectation is short term restrictions to avoid the lengthy lockdown that we had earlier this year. MPP Steve Clark has assured me that the data will be regularly monitored and when the curve is flattened, the lockdown will be lifted.

Key elements of the province wide shutdown include the following.

  • Childcare centres will remain open to support working parents; no school aged children between January 4 and 8. Emergency child care possibly available.

  • Elementary schools will be closed, and students will participate in remote learning for one week until January 11. For high school students, remote learning will continue until January 24.

  • Outdoor recreational amenities are open with physical distancing required and lockers, change rooms closed – no team sports if physical distancing not possible. Skill hills are closed.

  • No indoor organized social gatherings beyond the household (single people can join one other household).

  • Outdoor events and gatherings are limited to 10 people with physical distancing.

  • Wedding, funerals, and other religious services maximum 10 people indoors or outdoors – drive- in or virtual recommended.

  • Restaurants and bars take out only.

  • Stores selling food and pharmacies are open with 50% public area capacity and physical distancing required.

  • Personal care services are closed.

  • Select businesses open for curb side pick-up.

Being safe and protecting yourself means you are also protecting your family, friends and co-workers. Continue to practice the familiar public health safety guidelines: wear a mask, physically distance 2 m from people not in your household, stay home if you are not feeling well & get tested if you have symptoms and wash your hands frequently.

Businesses are encouraged to review the restrictions here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-provincewide-shutdown and contact protection@healthuit.org if you have specific questions.

Instead of the traditional New Year’s Day Levee at Town Hall, Council will be hosting a zoom meeting for you. The theme is “Stronger Together in 2021” and we have many guests who will share where government support is available or suggestions on how we can offer support to each other. MPP Steve Clark, MP Michael Barrett, Dr Paula Stewart, Senator Gwen Boniface are four of the guests who have confirmed. I am waiting for one other very special guest to confirm. The zoom call will begin at 11:00 on New Year’s Day. To register and receive the zoom invite, pls email Ms Anne-Marie Koiner – amkoiner@villageofwestport.ca. We can’t meet at Town Hall for the annual levee, but we can visit virtually this New Year’s Day.

These are anxious times for everyone. The lockdown feels like a further restriction on our lives, particularly during Christmas. It is important to remember that we are stronger together – each of us performing our role to the best of our ability. This is a point in time when we need to believe in our strengths, support each other and remember to be kind.

From all of us at Town Hall, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and hope to see you on January 1, 2021.

Mayor Robin Jones and Council


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Westport, Ontario, Canada

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