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COVID-19 Update: Updates from the City of Hamilton

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 606 confirmed positive cases, 7 probable cases, and 30 deaths from COVID-19 in Hamilton. More details about cases are available on the City’s website including demographics, risk factors, exposure, etc.

"Hamilton Reopens" - New for May 22

Skate Parks
Today, the City announced the reopening of skate parks. Any users of skate parks must continue to maintain two metres of physical distance from other users and should remember to practice good hand hygiene.

Tennis Courts
As of today, municipal outdoor tennis courts in Hamilton have also reopened. Guidelines for the safe use of tennis courts have been shared on the City’s website. All users must continue to maintain two metres of physical distance from other users and should remember to practice good hand hygiene.

Pickleball Courts
Similarly, municipal pickleball courts have also reopened. Guidelines for the safe use of pickleball courts have been shared on the City’s website. All users must continue to maintain two metres of physical distance from other users and should remember to practice good hand hygiene.

Summer Camps
All residents who had previously booked space in a municipal summer camp will be refunded. The City is continuing to review how summer and drop-in recreation programming will work this year. More information on recreation programming will follow over the coming weeks.

Municipal Golf Courses
Hamilton’s municipal golf courses are also reopening this week. King’s Forest opened Wednesday, May 20, and Chedoke opens this weekend (Beddoe on Friday and Martin on Saturday). Details regarding COVID-19 safety measures, payment, booking tee times, and all other information is available via the City’s newly launched www.hamilton.ca/golf website.

Regular Leaf and Yard Waste collection resumes Monday
The City is starting regular weekly leaf and yard waste collection on Monday, May 25. There is no change to the schedule that was in place, pre-COVID-19 – leaf and yard waste will be collected on residents’ regularly scheduled waste collection day.

Property Tax Assistance Program Update
On May 20, 2020, City Council approved a modification to the City’s monthly pre-authorized payment plan to allow taxpayers wishing to enroll in monthly pre-authorization payments the ability to do so, even if their April 30 installment has not yet been paid. Taxpayers need to enroll in monthly pre-authorized payments before June 30 to begin monthly pre-authorized withdrawals in July.

Monthly pre-authorized payments are purely optional – the modification to allow inclusion of the April 30 instalment simply provides greater flexibility and assistance during these unprecedented times. To find out more about the City’s Property Tax Assistance Program visit www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/faq-property-taxpayers.

“As our community and our economy gradually open up again, it is still important to maintain a physical distance from others. Remember the virus is still in our community. I ask for our community to continue to follow our public health teams’ recommendations of washing your hands often, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces and items and wearing a non-medical mask as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.” - Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Other reminders

City Waterfalls Remain Closed
Waterfall and escarpment areas remain closed to all users. These are particularly difficult to physically distance in as their natural features and limitations mean that the trail systems are narrow. Further, there are natural gathering areas such as lookouts and trail head entrances that encourage gathering.

The areas that remain closed include: Crooks Hollow, Spencer Gorge, Dundas Peak, Spencer Adventure Trail, Tew Falls, Webster Falls, Tiffany Falls, Devil's Punchbowl. Members of the public are not permitted on any of these areas or trails and those who access these properties are trespassing.

Municipal By-law Enforcement (MLE) staff will be patrolling to enforce parking restrictions and trespassers may be fined. Parking tickets in Special Enforcement Areas carry a $250 fine. MLE continues to enforce the EMCPA for groups larger than five (5), which carries a fine of $880. Parking violations can be reported to Municipal Bylaw by calling 905-540-6000.

City Facility Closures and Programming Update
We continue to follow provincial emergency orders, currently extended to May 29, and the province’s emergency declaration, currently extended to June 2. The City is working on a plan to slowly and safely reopen facilities and resume regular services and operations in accordance with public health and provincial direction, and we will share the plan with Council and the general public on May 27.

Parking Enforcement
This week, the Ontario government allowed retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery. To ensure that on-street parking and parking in municipal lots is available for businesses and employees, starting this past Saturday, payment is once again required, and will be enforced, at all parking meters and lots. Monthly permits from March or April that were not renewed will be honoured in municipal lots through May, but permits for June 1 will need to be renewed.    

To support local businesses and restaurants participating in curbside pickup and delivery, the first 30 minutes at parking meters will be free until further notice.

Public Health officials advise wearing face coverings
Public health officials began recommending this week that the public wear face masks when going out to run errands, attend medical appointments, taking transit, etc.

HSR is strongly encouraging customers to consider wearing a face covering when using public transit. It is not mandatory but can help protect others in spaces where physical distancing can be hard to maintain.

The City wants to remind customers that transit continues to be for essential travel only. Operators are committed to providing a safe, reliable and professional service and will do their best to limit instances of over-crowding by monitoring the boardings of 10 or 15 customers the best they can, while safely operating buses. The public is reminded to adhere to the public health measures that have been put in place.

Announcements from other levels of government

  • The federal government announced $305 million for a new, distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in Indigenous communities. This includes $75 million in support for Indigenous organizations that provide services to Indigenous peoples living in urban centres and off reserve.
  • The provincial government announced last month the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, to be put towards Ontario-based research projects looking into various aspects of COVID-19. An investment of $7.2 million was announced Thursday for the first phase of projects, which involves 15 proposals including proposals submitted by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University.
  • The province today announced it's investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools. The government is also providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing to help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers.

Additional resources