March 30

Hello everyone – I hope everyone is continuing to stay healthy by physically distancing and social distancing and keeping trips outside the home to a minimum.

Remember it is still ok to go outside and go for walks – just keep a safe distance from others.

If you are finding it hard to find the right words to say about this current situation to your children or aging parents, there are some amazing resources available on the Ottawa Public Library’s website. Feel free to check out my latest video blog:  During COVID : how to talk to kids, seniors and the Ottawa Public Library New Isolation Recreation Page – As I walk you through the resources available.

There are also resources to keep you busy for Adults and Teens or children on OPL’s website to keep us busy, learn, read, come up with some activities etc. I encourage all of you to check out the new features.

News From The City:

At this time, summer programs, including camps, are still running as planned. Residents are still encouraged to register their children as they would normally. The City has said that should there be any cancellations due to COVID-19, refunds will be awarded without penalty.

Ottawa Public Health Update:

With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we continue to urge everyone to practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate if you develop symptoms.  Some key things to remember:

For individuals with respiratory symptoms (such as fever, cough), please follow these directives:

  • You must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started, or until 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer.
  • You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms. Call your doctor or TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000 if you have questions.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
  • If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, a self assessment tool is available to help determine how to seek further care.

How to stop the spread

Self-isolate immediately if you have returned from travel outside Canada.

Practise physical distancing – stay 2 metres away from others.

Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.

Clean phones and other devices regularly.

Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 

In support of the community and local economy, all retail establishments are exempt from the regulations of the City of Ottawa’s Noise By-law pertaining to deliveries until further notice. This means that deliveries can take place at any time of day to ensure store shelves are stocked with essential goods.

Construction noise regulations have not changed.

It is a violation for construction sites or heavy equipment to operate in any structure, highway or building:

• Monday-Saturday: Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. 

• Sundays and holidays: Between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. 

Further limits are placed on the demolition and construction of buildings in established residential neighbourhoods. Infill construction is not permitted:

• Weekdays: Between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• Weekends and holidays: Between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Enforcement 

The primary focus for Ottawa Police Services and Regulatory Services is awareness and education.

While gatherings over 50 people are legally prohibited, it is imperative that we all follow recommendations for physical (social) distancing, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. For more information, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s page on this topic.

Please note that Ontario’s Cabinet has now banned gatherings over five people. 

Grocery stores in Rideau-Vanier

For the complete list click here: Grocery stores in Rideau-Vanier

Here is a great story from one of our community partners:

uOttawa prepares for families to move on campus due to COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams issued a statement asking all residents to help stop the spread of the virus. He is asking that all residents stay home except for essential reasons such as to:

• Access health care services;

• Shop for groceries;

• Pick-up medication at the pharmacy;

• Walk pets when required; and

• Support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs.

Gatherings now limited to five 

The Ontario government has prohibited organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately, with some exceptions. This order does not apply to:

• Private households with five people or more.

• Child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the      number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.

• Funerals, which are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.

Canada

Canada has announced a 75 per cent wage coverage for employees at qualifying companies. More information about this is available on Canada.ca

The Federal Government also announced measures to help vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available here

March 27

Another week of physical distancing done  – how is everyone doing?

The good news is that the weather looks lovely for the weekend, so get outside – all while practicing physical distancing.

Ottawa Public Library is online for you! In this period of social distancing, Ottawa Public Library offers you content for leisure and learning…at the tip of your fingertips. Isolation does not equal boredom – and we can help you answer the question: What can I do today? Creative activities, wellness tips, literary and cultural gems, learning tools, and much more – we’ve got lots to inspire, encourage, and entertain you during this period of social distancing. Discover OPL’s amazing online content that will help you make the most of this time out.

If you are feeling the effects of social distancing, Ottawa Public Health has an excellent visual and suggested steps to help you decrease anxiety and stress.

News from the City:

There are changes coming for OC Transpo, and once we have details on specific routes, we will post them here, on the website. Meanwhile, here is a general update about current practices on public transit to help keep people as safe and healthy as possible.

Public transit 

Do not use public transit if you have a fever, new cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.

OC Transpo has taken measures, such as rear-door boarding and exiting, to help protect residents and staff.

To protect yourself and others while using public transit:

  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • When possible, consider physical (social) distancing (ideally two metres).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and as soon as possible when you reach your destination.

Operations:

The train doors on the Confederation Line that are closest to the operator cabs are temporarily closed. OC Transpo has installed tape to block the doors and the area closest to the operator cab from the rest of the train.

You can still use cooperative seating areas in all parts of the train.

If you have a bicycle, you should use the next closest door at the front of the train. There are bicycle stickers on the appropriate door.

Staff are looking at barrier options for Trillium Line trains.

Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that they will allow restaurants and bars in Ontario to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders.

The AGCO will also allow a temporary change in hours for the sale of alcohol in retail stores as early as 7 a.m. to accommodate early shopping programs for vulnerable people.

For more information, visit Ontario.ca.

Canada

The Government of Canada has announced they will increase the wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses to 75 per cent – up from 10 per cent, in an effort to allow businesses to continue to pay their employees, while businesses are closed.

There is also a the Canada Emergency Business Account – banks will now offer $45,000 loans that will be guaranteed by the government, with no interest. More information is available at Canada.ca.

March 26

What’s new with City news:

Safety in outdoor spaces 

Parks and the outdoors are great for our physical and mental well-being and while being outside is encourage, the City and Ottawa Public Heath have asked that residents maintain safe physical distances and do not use playground equipment. Activities involving groups or teams is prohibited.

Sports fields and ball diamonds 

Rental contract holders and organizers of large public events that access to ball diamonds, sports fields and general turf areas at City facilities is prohibited until further notice.

City parks and outdoor spaces 

Skateboard parks and basketball courts are closed and cannot be used at this time.

Please stay off all park equipment until it is deemed safe to do so. This includes:

  • Play structures
  • Swings
  • Slides
  • Climbers
  • Adult fitness stations
  • Benches and picnic tables

Park equipment is not being cleaned and could potentially spread the harmful COVID-19 virus. Park equipment has surfaces that are touched frequently and are not safe to use at this time.

Safe park practices that are permitted include running, walking or jogging maintaining safe distances from others, riding your bike on a pathway, exercise or stretches, performed on your own and casual play with members of your household

Outdoor spaces are only safe to use if you continue to practice physical (social) distancing while doing so.

Access to City parks is permittable if you are respecting physical (social) distancing guidelines as set out by Ottawa Public Health. Please keep a safe distance of 2 metres.

Participation in group sports, practices, training or activities that can put you at risk of contracting COVID-19 is prohibited.

This includes playing soccer or basketball in a group setting, group picnics in the park, and playdates with other children, even in an outdoor setting

You can continue to enjoy being outside while respecting physical distancing guidelines, by going for a walk in your local park or neighbourhood. Members of your household can join you, as long as they are not showing symptoms. 

City launches Buy Local promotional campaign and web page to support Ottawa’s small businesses

There is a new way you can help support your local shops and businesses during these challenging times. By clicking on ottawa.ca/buylocal residents will find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.

Businesses can also visit this web page on ottawa.ca for access to essential information and support programs.

Staying healthy when you have to leave the house

If you are concerned about how to safely shop for groceries, here is an article from CBC that outlines a number of preventative measures you can take during your shopping outing.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/covid-shopping-groceries-safely-1.5509372

Kids getting bored? Are you?

Here are a few new links to add some new ideas to how to keep busy while at home:

Ottawa Public Library has a ton of ideas – this one in particular involves the option of learning something new – like speaking Pirate – Argh!

The St. Laurent Academy has launched an online community resources webpage where you can find a number of online resources for your child’s grade and age, all in one spot. The service is free.

Ontario

Here is the latest update from the province on funding and aid.

Canada

The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all persons entering Canada, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups, such as health care workers. These efforts will help contain the outbreak and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

March 25

From City Council Meeting today:

As a City Council today we met mostly virtually – with more than half of council calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

What happened: 

Today the Mayor declared a State of Emergency

Declaring a state of emergency will help the City deploy its emergency operations and staff in a more nimble fashion. It will also enable a more flexible procurement process, which will help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in the coming weeks.

Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give the City flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

According to the Mayor, the city will also be launching a new “Buy Local” campaign – the details for this campaign will be released shortly.

Please view the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

Also most importantly, stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

Ottawa Public Health Update:

Ottawa Public Health also has laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vera Etches reported they are starting to see cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

What you can do:

  • Practice physical (social) distancing.
    • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
  • Avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
  • Cancel all group gatherings.
  • Connect via phone, video chat or social media instead of in person.
  • Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
  • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
  • Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from other people when you go outside, like to take a walk.

Here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

The most current information will be shared with residents on ottawa.ca and the City’s social media channels. Ottawa Public Health will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 in Ottawa on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

If you are at home and want to help those on the front line.  Here are local groups offering help to our most in need  United Way East Ontario has a list of ways you can help- https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/volunteer-opportunities/

You can also go to Volunteer Ottawa to register as a volunteer.

Update on the Human Needs Task Force

The task force is currently focused on coordination between services for the five emerging needs:

  • Outreach to Seniors, Food Security, Transportation, Volunteer coordination and housing and homeless needs.

The task force has been assessing and triaging all social and human needs, all the while mobilizing and supporting community organizations to address urgent needs. Current tasks include outreach by telephone programs and connections. Ottawa Community Housing is conducting wellness check phone calls so far to 2,700 residents. The Ottawa Food Bank is supporting emergency food centres and working with other organizations such as the Salvation Army to help with distribution. Meals on Wheels is offering more frozen food for seniors in the Ottawa area. Transportation services and needs can be accessed by contacting Good Companions website or by telephone at 613-236-0428.

Housing and Homelessness

The City has received confirmation of $1.65 million in new funding under the federal government’s Reaching Home strategy to support the homeless and vulnerably housed sector. This funding must be allocated to, but does not need to be fully expended by, agencies, by March 31, 2020.

Housing Supports for Vulnerable Residents 

The Isolation Centre at the Routier Community Centre opened on Monday, March 23, 2020 to provide space for homeless single men and single women who need to self-isolate. The current capacity is 10 beds, with the ability to expand to 40 beds should the need arise. Supports for residents within the centre are being provided by Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Public Health. Currently five residents have been referred to and are staying at the Centre.

Housing Services has secured a 29-room location to provide isolation space for families and youth, which is anticipated to open the week of April 1st .

Where to get more assistance 

Anyone facing difficulty to call 3-1-1. The City of Ottawa has many supports in place for residents in need and are expanding our capacity to meet local need.

Tax deferrals

Council approved a penalty free payment grace period to April 15, 2020 for all property owners for the interim tax bill in 2020 and has asked the City Treasurer to develop a 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for City of Ottawa residential property owners and small business property owners.

Water Bills

Council also approved an interest free 30-day payment grace period for all unpaid water bills issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension for all water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020.

Landlords have been asked to pass this deferral and grace periods on to their tenants.

March 24

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Are you feeling ill? Take a Self-assessment on Ontario.ca.

If you are having a hard time coping please do not hesitate to reach out to the City’s Distress Centre –

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

It is important to continue to be social – virtually – please continue to be physically distant from neighbours, extended family and while you are outside. The messaging remains the same – please do not gather in groups.

Socially, we still need to stick together so please reach out by phone, video chat or any other virtual means you can, to maintain relationships and help you get through this difficult time.

City of Ottawa

Ottawa.ca page that lists information on impacted City facilities and services. This webpage will continue to be updated as the COVID-19 emergency response evolves.

For services that are not listed on the previously referenced webpage, operations will be continuing as best as possible. The City is continuing to develop plans to support its operations and understand what service adjustments and change implications will be needed, over the long term.

Ottawa Police Service

Here are some crime prevention tips on how to increase the safety of your business during the pandemic

Ontario

The Ontario Government released the list of essential and non-essential businesses late last night, all non-essential businesses will cease operation as of Midnight tonight.

What does that mean for our community?

It is important to note that essential business include, but are not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.

The full list of essential businesses is available HERE

Ontario also announced it will be lowering hydro rates. The new pricing structure of off-peak 24 hours a day, seven days a week will be in place for 45 days.  Ontario electricity customers will pay only the off-peak rate (10.1 cents/kWh) for the electricity they consume. During this 45-day period, farms, small businesses and residential customers will not be billed at on-peak (20.8 cents/kWh) or mid-peak (14.4 cents/kWh) rates.

For more information please visit Ontario.ca.

Be prepared for Covid-19

  • Plan ahead
  • Communicate
  • Stay informed

Here’s a great list you can follow – Be prepared for Covid-19

March 23 

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who are taking the right steps to help flatten the curve of the Novel Coronavirus and keep our City and its most vulnerable residents as safe as possible. I know this is not easy, but I also know as a community we can get through this.  

Important information to residents returning home from abroad: 

Federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. 

City Council update: 

Members of the public can watch this week’s City Council Meeting online –  

You can watch the live City Council meeting starting at 10 am on the Ottawa City Council YouTube page The meeting will also be broadcast live on RogersTV Cable 22 and live streamed on the RogersTV Website. 

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health 

Ottawa Public Health has a daily update of the number of cases in Ottawa – current COVID-19 cases in the City of Ottawa Ottawa Public Health has a daily update of the number of cases in Ottawa – current COVID-19 cases in the City of Ottawa  

You can also sign up for email alerts for the most up-to-date numbers. 

CANADA.CA 

Canada has launched a new virtual assistant to help you navigate through this pandemic. If you have questions or concerns directly related the Novel Coronavirus. It is incredibly intuitive – please check it out. 

Small businesses

The Business Development Bank of Canada is hosting a webinar on March 25, at 12:00PM. This webinar is for entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to manage their business through this difficult time.

Service Canada

Service Canada provides Canadians with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. They are committed to improving services for Canadians by working with partners to provide access to the full range of government services and benefits that Canadians want and need through the Internet, by telephone, in person or by mail.

To apply for Employment Insurance (EI), click here. Are you in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19? You can inquire about your EI application by calling this Service Canada number: 1-833-381-2725.

To help Service Providers provide information regarding Employment Insurance (EI), actions required for maintaining benefits, earnings while on claim and other resources to support return to work endeavors Service Canada will be presenting a 1-hour (no cost) Service Canada webinar on March 24, 2020 at 11AM.  To register for Service Canada webinar, please use Service Canada’s general email address: on-eastern-sc-events-evenements-gd@servicecanada.gc.ca

Ontario announces the closure of all non-essential businesses

The Ontario Government has announced that beginning Tuesday, March 24 all non-essential businesses will be ordered to close. This is in attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The list will be released of what stores are considered essential and non-essential on March 24. Please visit ontario.ca for more up-to-date information.

Food, medicine and other essential products will continue be available. Premier Doug Ford said that telecommunication services will continue.

The Province has also announced $200 million in relief funding for municipalities that administer key social services such as shelters, food banks, emergency services and charities and non-profit organizations.

There is also money available for people and families who are struggling financially but can not access federal support programs – Ontario.ca/community

Ontario to Open Select Child Care Centres across the Province Childcare services 

In order to support health care and frontline workers during this COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close all licensed child care centres pursuant to the state of emergency declared earlier this week. This initiative is being done in partnership with service system managers and First Nations partners. For more information visit Ontario.ca 

Entering week two of Social Distancing: 

Food supply 

Understanding there is a lot of uncertainty on length of time for social distancing and fighting this virus, we wanted to share with you the most up-to-date information on food supply. The Ontario Government and the Federal Government are working hard to ensure supplies continue to fill shelves. Additionally, many retailers are making changes, including at-home delivery, pick-up and safety measures in stores. 

Updated Measures for Retail Shopping: 

The City has released some updated suggested measures for retail stores to ensure social distancing while individuals shop.   

Ensure that you keep a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others, including in line-ups at the register and outside, if necessary. You will note, some retail stores are now marking the floors to ensure distancing, as well as limiting the number of individuals in the store at a time.  

For the continued health and safety of customers and staff, Ottawa Public Health also recommends the following precautions: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.  
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand. 
  • Limit the number of items that you touch. 

Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings: 

OPH recommends the following additional actions in multi-unit dwellings: 

  • Suspend all non-urgent inspections and repair work, if possible. 
  • Close all onsite recreational amenities and gathering spaces (e.g. party rooms, fitness facilities, pools), if possible. 
  • Encourage limited use of public areas for necessary outings and take additional precautions in shared spaces (e.g. lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms). 

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible: 

  • Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them. 
  • Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectant for sanitizing in spaces such as laundry rooms. 
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often, at a minimum of twice a day (e.g. buzzer systems/kiosks, doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, elevator buttons, etc.) or as they become visibly soiled. 
  • Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Remove items from shared spaces that may be hard to clean or disinfect (e.g. intricate lamps). 

OTTAWA COMMUNITY HOUSING  

For the latest updates for OCH please visit OCH WEBSITE

OC TRANSPO 

Public transit is still running, but with changes including rear-door boarding on buses and now on LRT trains with less-frequent service. For specific route changes or information,  please visit OC TRANSPO 

UPDATE FOR PARENTS:

As we enter week two, trying to work and keep our children occupied is definitely challenging. There are a number of online resources that you can check out to offer new ideas for your children.

The Ontario Government will also be launching an e-learning tool – for more information about this, please visit, Learn At Home

The Ottawa Public Library has a new portal for Kids, visit Isolation Recreation for Kids – where you can find online books, music and movies.

Student Portals – The schools have a number of online resources through their online student portals –

  • Ottawa Carleton District School Board has resources HERE
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board has resources HERE
  • Ecole Catholiques Centre-East has resources HERE
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de L’Ontario has resources HERE

STAYING AT HOME:

We recognize that for some, staying at home comes with its own challenges, including nearby construction noise – this pandemic is a continually changing situation and workers, including construction sites, scheduling and hours may change – Currently the Ontario Government has not mandated work should stop.

As part of the Ontario Government’s declaration of State of Emergency certain services will be and are being evaluated.

Take care of yourself 

It’s OK to NOT be Ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to   

Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311. 

For more information, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus 

Stay updated on what is happening in the community, follow our daily updates here or on social media. 

March 20 update:

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

What does it mean to “flatten the curve” and why is social distancing so important?

Animation by Prof. Nicholas Woolridge

Here is a great video explaining why we are trying to flatten the curve from the University of Toronto Mississauga

https://twitter.com/UTMBiology/status/1240638969982877698?s=20

What the City is doing:

Caring for our most vulnerable

A human services task force has been created by the Community and Social Services team that includes City departments and key community partners to plan for future scenarios including food, housing, shelter and psychosocial supports, and to coordinate information, service changes, emerging issues and needs

This task force consolidates partners from all sectors, including United Way Eastern Ontario, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Food Bank, The Good Companions, Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Ottawa Inner City Health, in addition to representatives from City departments, including Ottawa Public Health.

The scope of the task force is to:

  • Plan for future scenarios, with considerations related to food security and vulnerable population needs, including housing, shelter and psychosocial supports.
  • Coordinate service sector information related to services being provided, changes to services and emerging issues and needs.
  • Raise issues, service gaps and community concerns to staff within Community and Social Services, other City departments and community partners for resolution.

Partner and Stakeholder Initiatives staff are reaching out to the City’s 81 funded community agencies to obtain service delivery updates, assess needs and identify concerns for escalation to the Human Needs Tasks Force.

As a result, key priorities are emerging, including:

  • Food security
  • Outreach to isolated seniors
  • Transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centers and medical appointments
  • Volunteer management to support community effort during a pandemic

In terms of food security, the Ottawa Food Bank has confirmed 23 of the 26 food banks are operational. Although contingency plans are in place for two of the food banks that are closed, they anticipate that additional locations will close in the coming weeks due to the lack of volunteers. Mitigation strategies are being developed, including obtaining access to City facilities as pick up locations for hampers, establishing mobile locations and increasing the number of volunteers. Information about how to access Ottawa Food Bank services is updated regularly on their website. If you receive any messages about people interested in volunteering, please direct them to their Volunteer Hub.

Isolated seniors are an emerging priority within the community. We will be working on identifying further support required for seniors. As a result of COVID-19, The Good Companions is no longer open or using volunteers for services. Staff have been redirected to essential programming including telephone-based programs, providing check-in services and transportation services to isolated seniors. In addition, their program Senior Centres Without Walls is ramping up to respond to the emerging needs for transportation to emergency services, medical appointments and shopping, and for delivery of groceries, as well as Meals on Wheels. Please email them directly to access any services.

Finally, a need has been identified by our Community Health and Resource Centres around transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centres and medical appointments. As a result, they are currently working with Ottawa Public Health and other community partners to assess the transportation needs.

Message from the City’s Community and Social Services department:

We recognize the generosity of those looking to volunteer. Currently, we are not seeking volunteers to help with the response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. However, this is a priority area for the City and we are looking at ways to provide opportunities for those who want to support their community. As Ottawa Public Health has suggested, residents can help by checking in with neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help. 

2-1-1 is available for information on the full range of community, social, government and health services and programs available in Ottawa and how to access those services. 

Latest news from Ontario:

Ontario passes two pieces of legislation which will protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance. More information here

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-supporting-workers-municipalities-and-retailers-in-response-to-covid-19.html

Ontario Extending Validation Periods for Driver, Vehicle and Carrier Products, Services and Health Cards

https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/03/ontario-extending-validation-periods-for-driver-vehicle-and-carrier-products-services-and-health-car.html

If you are experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus:

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or your primary care provider.

Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a healthcare professional.

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

The assessment centre is at Brewer Arena, 151 Brewer Way. It is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Do not bring healthy people, including children. Do take children under 6 months of age meeting these criteria to CHEO.

Business Update

Some local businesses might be closing and you may find you are out of a job at the moment  – the best information is available at Canada.ca

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

March 19

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Click HERE for a video update from Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches

Check out the latest from Canada.ca

The Canadian government has announced a $82 Billion aid package to tackle COVID-19. For more information and the funding breakdown click HERE

 

Essential and emergency services continue

The City will continue to resource essential services such as:

  • Emergency first responders including fire, paramedics and public health staff
  • Front-line communications for 9-1-1 emergency services, Ottawa Public Health, Revenue and 3-1-1 call centres
  • Social assistance services
  • Key assets, public works and operations such as water services, road and traffic services and snow clearing
  • Front-line workers who serve our most vulnerable in the community including long-term care
  • Transit services will be running on a regular schedule to allow for social distancing
  • Garbage and recycling collection
  • By-law services
  • Fire investigations and inspections for complaints and licenses
  • Community Paramedic program

 

Closures and cancellations

Effective March 17:

The main foyer at City Hall will remain open to the public,

The Mary Pitt Centre, Ben Franklin Place and the City of Ottawa Landfill Site at Trail Road will be closed to the public

All counter services will be closed to the public, but we will continue to deliver services through alternate channels where available

All municipally run daycares will be closed

Access to long-term care homes is restricted to essential visitors only and screening remains in place for all who enter

Court services at the Provincial Offences Act courthouse located at 100 Constellation Drive are closed until April 3

All on-street overtime parking, signed or unsigned, will no longer be enforced on residential streets until further notice

 

OC TRANSPO

For the health and safety of our customers and staff, all OC Transpo Customer Service Centres and ServiceOttawa Client Service Centres closed on March 17.

During this time, Ticket Machines, Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws store locations, as well as Prestocard.ca are alternatives for most transactions. ParaPay accounts can be loaded by phone (613-741-4390) or online. More information is available on OCtranspo.com

Rear-door boarding on all OC Transpo buses and installation of caution tape to separate the operator cab and accessible seating areas from the rest of the bus.

Practice social distancing (2 metres, when possible) in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Stagger your commute times, if possible, to help lessen the volume of passengers during morning and afternoon peak periods. Increased cleaning of all high-traffic areas and touch points at City-owned buildings, buses, trains, stations and Para Transpo vehicles

 

HOW TO KEEP BUSY AT HOME

As we enter mid-week, here are a few new ideas to keep yourself and family occupied

The Ottawa Public Library has a bunch of fun resources available ONLINE

Scholastic Learn at Home has an excellent online resource available HERE

There are a number of online resources available on the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs’ website, parentsmatter.ca

 

March 18

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program  

The City announced they will be offering a tax deferral program, pending Council approval at its March 25, 2020 meeting – or the earliest available opportunity. 

Interim tax bills, which represent 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill, were mailed to property owners in mid-February with payment to the City of Ottawa due Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

The City intends to extend a payment grace period to April 15, 2020

It is important to note that property owners who are enrolled in pre-authorized debit plans are not affected by the grace period and do not need to take any action. 

More information on property tax bills can be found on the Taxes homepage on ottawa.ca

If approved, the deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020. The motion will define the criteria of property owner eligibility.

Tax & Water Bill Deferral Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities 

The City of Ottawa already offers two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. 

Under these existing programs, eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes. 

The City also offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. 

Eligible homeowners may apply for a deferral of their water utility bills. 

Applying for both programs can be done online via email. Information on eligibility and how to apply can be found on ottawa.ca. 

Water Service  

The City of Ottawa has suspended all water service disconnections due to non-payment until further notice. 

Alternate Payment Options 

The City is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and wants to remind residents that the City offers several ways to pay water bills and property taxes, including: my Service Ottawa portal, telephone and online banking through your financial institution, credit or debit card online at ottawa.ca, pre-authorized debit , by mail.

MARCH 17, 2020

ONTARIO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY – RESTAURANTS AND BARS, CHILD CARE CENTRES TO CLOSE – MORE INFORMATION Ontario.ca

Message from Mathieu and team, 

First and foremost, I want to thank the community for taking precautions including social distancing to prevent the spread of this virus. This is obviously unchartered territory and we know there are many impacts, but we are all in this together, and as a community, I know we care for one and other.

As the information continues to evolve, we are offering you updates of the most recent information.

For the latest and more in-depth information visit Ottawa Public Health

OTTAWA:

The city of Ottawa now has 13 confirmed cases in the City. These cases are related to travel that occurred prior to the advice of self-isolation upon return. According to Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, the likelihood of a “community spread” is now possible. Ms. Etches is asking that all people in Ottawa increase their practice of social distancing (limit non-essential trips out of the home, stay 1 to 2 meters away from other people)

In addition, OPH is asking children stay home from daycare and check to see if working from home is an option.

Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 developments by following Ottawa Public Health on Twitter and Facebook

HOW TO SLOW THE SPREAD

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

A comprehensive list of what you can do to help slow the virus Canada.ca

CANADA:

Risk to Canadians is low for the general public. Self-isolation is recommended for all travellers. More information is available at Canada.ca

Travel Advisories:

The Government of Canada has issued an official Global Travel Advisory – Canadians are asked to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

A list of destinations and advisories is available at  travel.gc.ca

THE RISKS:

The request to stay at home and social distancing is in an effort to keep members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Ottawa Community Housing 

OCH has decided that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all OCH offices will be closed to tenants and members of the public. The target date for resuming normal operations is April 5, 2020.  To further preventative measures, OCH has also directed employees to work from home where operationally feasible.

OCH’s 24/7 Call Centre (613-731-1182) will remain open, and staff providing core services will continue to offer assistance and will be available to speak with tenants for the following services:

• Community Safety Services

• Emergency Maintenance Services

• Rental and Lease Services

• Rent Collection

• Housing Administration

OCH has undertaken additional preventative measures to ensure properties are sanitized and cleaned thoroughly and often. Commonly touched areas (elevator buttons, doorknobs, etc.) will be cleaned multiple times a day as needed.

For tenants in Seniors Buildings, OCH staff are working with tenant leaders in these communities to ensure neighbours are being checked up on via phone and email to provide support where needed.

HELP:

The Ottawa Food Bank said they will remain open and ensure no disruption in service will take place.

Modifications to service will take place, which includes pre-packed hampers.

Soap and information about how to prevent spreading the virus is also available at most locations.

Visit the Ottawafoodbank.ca for a list of local agencies.

Please call ahead, as times and services might have changed.

Donate: If you can donate to the Ottawa Food Bank today.

HOW TO KEEP BUSY

Although you are being asked to stay home, you can still go outside, go to the park or go to the grocery store – just maintain a safe distance of 1 to 2 meters away from others.

Different businesses in the community are offering modified services – please check with individual retail services and businesses for updates.

CLOSURES AND REDUCED HOURS:

There are a number of closures and retail outlets making changes to hours

City facilities:

All City of Ottawa recreation and cultural facilities and Ottawa Public Library branches closed March 16 and will remain closed until further notice.

All recreation and cultural facilities, including recreation complexes, community centers, arenas, swimming pools, theatres and museums are closed.

Performances at the Shenkman and Meridian Theatres are cancelled.

The following City facilities and services are open at this time:

Client service centres

Ottawa City Hall

For the most update information please visit Ottawa.ca

Malls: St. Laurent Mall and the Rideau Centre have altered their operating hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Please check online for updates.

Museums: All national museums in the National Capital Region are closed until further notice.

There are some online resources, including virtual tours of 12 famous museums through Google – to help keep self-isolation a little more exciting for you and your family.

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health:

You can do your part to take charge of the speed of COVID-19 by social distancing and only leaving the house for essential trips

Don’t forget you can spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 1-2-meter (3-6 feet) distance from each other.

Check out the latest from Canada.ca

The Government intends to introduce measures for Employment Insurance and supports for direct income for those who do not qualify for employment insurance.

Self-care 

If you are experiencing anxiety, concerns or just need to talk –

Mental Health Crisis Line – 1+ (866) 996-0991

Distress Centre Ottawa – 613-238-3311

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