April 24 2020
HAMILTON, ON - Earlier today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger joined Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health, and the City’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Director, Paul Johnson to update media and the community on the City’s response to COVID-19.
As of 9 am this morning, there are 364 confirmed cases, 5 probable cases, and 17 deaths from COVID-19 in Hamilton. More details about cases are available on the City’s website including demographics, risk factors, exposure, etc.
The public is reminded to stay home as much as possible. If you must go out, please practice physical distancing and maintain 2m or 6ft between yourself and others at all times.
Emergency Funding Request by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
The City of Hamilton has joined the call by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for $10 billion in assistance from federal and provincial governments. Canadian cities, including the City of Hamilton, have taken unprecedented steps to support the health and safety of our residents. In Hamilton, these initiatives have included:
- an emergency homeless shelter in First Ontario Centre
- drive-through testing centres in arenas
- not collecting HSR fares in order to promote physical distancing on board buses
- educating the public about the City’s response to COVID-19, the importance of physical distancing, property tax deferrals, and other essential municipal information
These initiatives have been undertaken all while maintaining vital City services such as water, garbage and recycling collection, and emergency services. At the same time our revenue has dropped dramatically, with no easy way to replace it except through property taxes at a time when many people are not working.
FCM is seeking cooperation and support from the provincial and federal governments to help municipalities manage through the pandemic and beyond into recovery.
Modified delivery of some City services
Many City services have continued throughout the pandemic including essential services, support services to those essential services, and services that can be accessed by the public online.
Today, the Emergency Operations Centre announced the restart of some City services. There are some services we can restart on a modified basis in a way that ensures we continue to adhere to the provincial orders and the health and safety of our staff and the community. As part of this restart, we will be implementing physical distancing practices, staggering hours and increasing cleaning practices. Restarting these modified services is critical to maintaining our facilities as the seasons change. Generally, the services include:
- Grass cutting
- Waste and litter collection in parks and in the right-of-ways
- Asset safety inspections
- Critical park maintenance
- Burials in City cemeteries
- Some work at Gage Park Greenhouse
- Some pre-work for the fall Mum Show
- Annual road maintenance programs will operate at reduced staffing levels due reduction of student resources and full-time staff will be redeployed to fill those duties
- Cleanup of all escarpment crossings
- Enhanced by-law enforcement related to property standards calls
- Parking maintenance staff will do spring maintenance on surface lots including pothole filling, line painting and minor repairs.
- Parking labourers will also be assisting with garbage and litter pick-up in areas surrounding downtown parking facilities
For more information about the modified delivery of these services, visit: https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/affected-city-services.
Ongoing enforcement of physical distancing and gatherings
City of Hamilton By-law Officers continue to use a progressive and education enforcement approach to help residents understand the City’s Physical Distancing by-law that prohibits certain activities and regulates physical distancing during the COVID-19 emergency. While no charges have been laid under this by-law to date, it continues to be in effect and the fine for individuals is $500, which could increase to $10,000 for a serious offence and up to $25,000 for repeat offences. Corporations may receive a fine of up to $50,000 for a first serious offence and up to $100,000 for repeat offences.
To help media and the public keep track of charges laid under the both the City’s Physical Distancing by-law and under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection, stats have been added to the City’s website: https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/faq-about-enforcement Numbers on this page will be updated daily.
Supports for community agencies and our vulnerable residents
The City will be allocating provincial funding to local social service providers and community organizations for COVID-19 services that support the ultimate goal of reducing community spread. The funding need has to have been generated by COVID-19 and would be needed by the requesting organization to continue to deliver critical services, hire additional staff and find ways to promote physical distancing and self-isolation to keep people safe and healthy. For more information about criteria and to access the application, visit www.hamilton.ca/CovidFinancialSupports and click on Learn more about Funding for Social Service Providers and Community Organizations.
The First Ontario Centre continues to operate as an emergency overflow shelter. Currently, 50 residents are staying at the shelter.
The City is reminding residents that public transit is for essential travel only. The public is asked to please not take public transit to pass some time during the day, transit is for essential trips only, such as going to work or a medical appointment. The public is also reminded to adhere to physical distancing measures and not sit in seats that have been blocked off to promote physical distancing.
Any residents experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or going to an assessment centre for testing should not use public transit. They are asked to contact the Public Health hotline for more information on appropriate transportation to the testing sites: 905-974-9848 or [email protected].
Reminder: City accepting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations
The City continues to accept donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). The equipment will be provided to essential service workers. The City is accepting surgical masks, N95 masks, impervious gowns, gloves, face shields, swabs and sanitizer. We are requesting these items from local healthcare providers, pest control, hospitality providers, nail salons and construction companies. Homemade equipment will not be accepted. To donate, please email [email protected] or call 905-546-2424 ext. 2257 and make an appointment for drop-off at a location in downtown Hamilton.
Supports from other levels of Government
The Federal government announced today the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three-monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. As well, impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
The province partnered with the federal government on its rent relief program and is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted. The Province also launched action plan to assist vulnerable populations during the outbreak. This plan protects people living in high-risk settings, including homes serving those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, children's residential settings, and those residential settings supporting vulnerable Indigenous individuals and families both on and off reserve. The plan also lays out a set of interventions to enable prevention and infection control while maintaining service continuity for the benefit of vulnerable clients and staff
More information is available on the City’s website outlining the various financial supports available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19: Visit www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/financial-support-individuals
“I remain proud of the response from our community throughout this pandemic. By staying home and only going out for essentials, we are flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Hamilton. Please keep doing what you are doing – it’s working! Thank you for taking your role seriously as the first line of defence against this virus.”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger
- Visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19
- Public Health Services’ COVID-19 Hotline: 905-974-9848 or [email protected]
- Information about financial supports available from other levels of government to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19: https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/financial-support-individuals
- Caring for our mental health during the COVID-19 emergency:
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (24/7)
- COAST: 905-972-8338