January 15, 2021 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE
This week, the Province of Ontario reported that the number of COVID-19 cases is at its highest since the start of the pandemic. To stop the rise in cases and protect our healthcare system, the Province declared a second provincial state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order.
Overview of restrictions
When does the provincewide shutdown start?
There will be a combination of measures that come into effect between Tuesday January 12, 2021 and Thursday, January 14, 2021, including a provincial declaration of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, orders under that Act, and amendments to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19covid 19) Act, 2020.
Where, and how long, are the provincewide shutdown restrictions in effect?
The enhanced public health and workplace safety measures are in effect for all of Ontario and are anticipated to be in place until at least Thursday, February 11, 2021.
No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
Limit for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings, must comply with public health advice on physical distancing:
- 5 people outdoors
Under the provincial emergency, the following enhanced enforcement authorities will be in place:
- All provincial offences officers, including police officers, will have the authority to disperse crowds indoors as well as outdoors. For example, when a group of more than five people who are not from the same household are gathering outdoors, they can be required to leave and the premise may be closed.
- Similar to the provision under ROA, individuals have a duty to identify when a police officer has reasonable and probably grounds that an offence under EMCPA has been committed.
- Additionally, enforcement personnel will have the authority to issue tickets to individuals, employees and corporations in retail settings and businesses if found not complying with an order (e.g. staff member or customer not wearing a face covering.)
What City facilities are opened and closed:
- The City will continue to operate and provide some services during the stay-at-home order, including virtual arts and recreation programming.
- No public access to administrative buildings, including 100 Constellation and Ben Franklin Place.
- Public access to City Hall will be restricted to the Service Ontario counter and the municipal daycare service. Municipal counters, such as ServiceOttawa, will be closed as of the end of the business day on Friday, January 15, 2021 and will be moving to online delivery.
- All indoor recreation and cultural facilities remain closed to the public, excluding respite centres, COVID-19 assessment centres, municipal childcare centres (ages 0-4), inclusive recreation programs and Before-and-After School programs when elementary schools resume.
- Ottawa Public Library facilities will remain closed – including the bookmobile – but will continue to provide contactless curbside services.
Outdoor rinks and sledding hills remain open
Outdoor rinks – community and refrigerated – and sledding hills will remain open with the current 25-person capacity restriction and masking requirements outlined in the order issued by Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health. Outdoor refrigerated rinks will continue to operate with the online reservation system on ottawa.ca/skating.
People are reminded they must maintain two-metres from others and masks must be worn in public accessibility areas that are within 15 metres (50 feet) distance of the edge of the ice surface. While masks are not mandatory when skating, OPH recommends wearing one for added protection.
Under Provincial Regulations, no team sports are permitted and the City is directing that only skating take place on all rinks with no sticks, pucks, balls or other sports equipment permitted on the ice.
Temporarily suspended in-person services include:
- City Hall and Ben Franklin Place (100 Centrepointe Drive) Client Service Centres and Building Code Services counters. Client Services Centres will suspend our current in-person counter services which will move to online delivery. Building Code Services will move to an alternate format such as mail services, electronic submission, phone, etc.
- The Provincial Offences Act courthouse, located at 100 Constellation Drive, Nepean, will remain closed.
- EarlyON Child and Family Centre remains closed from the current shutdown
- The Business Licensing Centre at 735 Industrial Avenue is open for drop-off of documents only and clients can call 613-580-2424 ext. 12735 or email [email protected].
Altered services include:
- Complaints for unauthorized parking on private property will continue to require new electronic procedures for proof of authority.
- Residents needing financial assistance are asked call us at 3-1-1 and select option #4 for Social Services for information on all programs and services.
- People cannot visit the Employment and Social Services offices, but staff are available to help residents by phone, email and mail from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.
- Ontario Works claimants do not need to drop off any documents, including income reporting statements. Those documents can be given the case worker at a later date.
- Virtual arts and recreation programs will be offered with registration starting on January 14 at 9 pm.
- To support those staying home during these provincial measures, By-law and Regulatory Services will not be enforcing overtime parking on streets that do not have posted time limits. All other parking restrictions that ensure safety and mobility remain in effect, including parking bans due to snow accumulation, no-stopping zones, no-parking zones, fire routes, accessible parking spaces, pay and display, and rules around sidewalks, driveways and fire hydrants.
Acquiring services or doing transactions online or by phone or cheque
While all counter services are suspended, residents can acquire some services and complete payments and registrations online or by phone or cheque. Please confirm with your City contact prior to mailing a cheque.
Residents can go to myservice.ottawa.ca to pay water bills and your interim property taxes. If you do not have an account, registration is simple – just sign-up with your email address. Once registered, you’ll need your account or property roll number to pay your bill.
- Paying by credit or debit card online at ottawa.ca
- Paying through your financial institution by creating a payee number on your institution’s mobile app or through an ATM machine
- Paying by phone with your financial institution
- Sending a cheque by mail
Residents can access many other services online as well. You do not need to come in-person to a Client Service Centre if you want to:
- Register or renew a pet registration
- Apply or renew an open-air fire permit
- Pay a parking or traffic ticket
- Look up extension or reopening applications
- Apply for a Food Premise Business License
- Sign-up for future recreation programs
- Load and manage a Presto Card
The City of Ottawa thanks all residents and businesses for their continued patience, kindness and resilience in doing their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The rate of spread is at a dangerous point. We need to pull together again as a community by staying apart, respecting all measures, and practicing all preventative measures.
Over the next 24 - 36 hours Ottawa will see a significant weather event. During this time, we anticipate 15 – 25 cm of snow to fall. The snow that falls is expected to fall quickly and could at times be mixed with ice pellets or rain making it heavy.
How We are Preparing
Our Roads and Parking Services team has been preparing for this event all day. In our yards, trucks, equipment and domes are being filled with salt, sand and grit in anticipation of being out as soon as the weather event begins. We are doing final repairs and tune-ups on equipment. Our overnight team will respond to the event first – clearing and treating our main roads, sidewalks and the winter cycling network to keep them as clear as possible. Multiple passes of all roadways and sidewalks will be needed due to the ongoing accumulation of snow.
Our morning shift will be in at 7 am tomorrow to take over and they will continue to clear snow – focussing on keeping those main roads and arterials safe for residents.
Winter Weather Parking Ban
We do not anticipate getting into the residentials until tomorrow evening, depending on how much snow falls, and if it switches to rain. A parking ban is being called for tomorrow evening, Saturday January 16, from 7 pm until 7 am on Sunday, January 17, 2021. During this time, all vehicles except those with winter parking permits, must be removed from the roadway to avoid possible ticketing or towing. When the roads are clear of vehicles, our equipment can get closer to the curb keeping roads open and wider for travel and walking. This will be especially important given how much snow we are expecting. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the Winter Weather Parking Ban alerts for all the latest information.
Parking is Available
The City has made specific additional parking available to residents during a winter weather parking ban. Details of the specific locations can be found at Ottawa.ca. Please observe the available time restrictions on the municipal parking lots.
Recognizing that more residents are working and learning from home due to COVID, we’ve added two additional sites to our available parking including the Greenboro Park and Ride lot as well as designated parking at Tom Brown Arena.