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City of Hamilton COVID-19 Update – March 17, 2020

HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton today provided further updates to the community on its COVID-19 response:

All City facilities closed to the public until April 6, 2020

Following the announcement from the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health late Monday, the City of Hamilton announced last night that all municipal facilities are closed to the public starting today until April 6, 2020. This closure includes all municipal service centres, public counters and City Hall.

Continuation of City services

Business continuity and delivering the core services that support our residents remains an essential part of the City’s work. As such, the following services are not impacted:

  • Emergency response by the Hamilton Police Service, Hamilton Fire Department and Hamilton Paramedic Service
  • HSR service will continue to operate. Effective Monday March 23, 2020, until further notice, HSR is moving to a Saturday level of service from Monday to Friday, across most routes.
  • Hamilton Water operations continue, including drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management
  • Garbage, recycling and organics collection continues
  • Shelters, respites and drop-in centres continue to operate with measures already established
  • Road, sidewalk, and bikeway operations and maintenance, including snow removal, continues
  • Hamilton Farmers’ Market continues to operate, however sit-down food service is suspended

The City also has alternate service options available to complete some transactions and residents are encouraged to use access them wherever possible. For more information about online services, visit www.hamilton.ca/covidclosures.

HSR Service Update

Effective immediately, seats immediately behind the operator have been blocked and the yellow line has been moved. All personal mobility devices (PMDs) will be loaded and offloaded from the front doors only (current practice is that people with PMDs board from the rear).

Until further notice, HSR is moving to a Saturday level of service from Monday–Friday, across most routes. There are some exceptions, and all details will be posted on www.hamilton.ca/hsr. Current Saturday and Sunday schedules will continue and remain unchanged. Where required, revised timetables are being finalized and will be available by March 20, 2020.

Effective March 18, 2020 HSR is cancelling service on Route #51 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week.

For more HSR information: www.hamilton.ca/hsr, Bus Check 905-527-4441, SMS Text, Trip planner www.hamilton.ca/hsr, Social Media @HSRNow.

DARTS

Currently, there are no changes in the availability of accessing DARTS. As a result of various program cancelations, people are using the service less, meaning DARTS has the capacity to fulfill the currently scheduled trips. They will continue to monitor and provide updates as needed.

Supports for those experiencing homelessness

Three sites have been identified to operate as an isolation site for shelter residents and homeless/street involved individuals. These shelters are not regular shelters, they are sites that will be demographic specific (men, women and children and families) and provide emergency shelter and essential provisions for individuals and families that have been assessed as requiring isolation. Any individuals experiencing homelessness and requiring shelter are asked to continue to approach the shelter system as normal. City staff will work with shelter providers and health care to assess individuals that require isolation and transport to the isolation centres if necessary.   

Public Health

There are currently 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton.

Earlier today, all Hamilton bars, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs were asked to close immediately to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The closures are expected to remain in place for at least two weeks. Restaurants are encouraged to continue providing take-out and delivery options which will limit the social interactions between people while continuing to provide food service to the community. Public Health Services’ Public Health Inspectors, in cooperation with City of Hamilton Municipal Law Enforcement Officers, began inspections earlier today to ensure compliance with these restrictions. Businesses that fail to comply with this direction immediately today, will be issued orders under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, as appropriate.

Social distancing: everyone has a role to play in preventing the spread of this virus. It’s not just about your own health, it’s about protecting your family, neighbours, friends and those with health issues who may be more vulnerable. Social distancing includes, but is not limited to telecommuting and virtual meetings, avoiding non-essential trips in the community, if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, be sure to keep the windows down, limiting or cancelling group gatherings, maintaining a 1-2 metre (3-6 feet) distance from others, or even distancing yourself from family members, especially if someone is sick. You can still go outside to take a walk/hike, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store and consider shopping off-hours where possible. We recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you. 

COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Two COVID-19 Assessment Centres are open in Hamilton. They will ONLY see individuals who have a referral from their doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services by appointment only. Referrals are only made when someone is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms. Travel history alone is not a reason to be tested.

City supporting economic recovery efforts

The City of Hamilton is working with all three local Chamber partners to develop an approach to business continuity and economic recovery to help position Hamilton for a full recovery following the end of the COVID-19 outbreak. More information to follow.

Virtual Town Hall

The City will be hosting a virtual town hall on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 pm in collaboration with Cable 14. The town hall will be live on Cable 14 and streamed on the City’s YouTube channel. Residents are invited to submit questions for the town hall at www.hamilton.ca/askcovidquestions or via Twitter by tagging @cityofhamilton. In order to promote social distancing, the town hall will only be presented virtually, in-person attendance at the town hall is not available for residents or media.

Replays of the City’s COVID-19 media availabilities and the town hall will be replayed on Cable 14 online at www.cable14now.com/covid19 and available on the City’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/insidecityofhamilton.

“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of all of our staff who are making decisions that will help safeguard the health and wellbeing of our community. The City of Hamilton is taking all necessary measures to help flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of the virus by closing public access to City facilities, making adjustments to our Transit service, supporting those most vulnerable in our community, and ensuring the economic recovery of our city.”- Mayor Fred Eisenberger, City of Hamilton

Additional Resources

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jen Recine
Communications – EOC
City of Hamilton
905-546-2424, ext. 4970
[email protected]

Michelle Shantz
Communications and Media Advisor
Office of Mayor Fred Eisenberger
905-546-4225
[email protected]

Kelly Anderson
Communications – Public Health Services
City of Hamilton
905-973-4230
[email protected]