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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 690 confirmed positive cases, 7 probable cases, and 38 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 June 2

Summer Recreation Programs
The City has announced that all City-run summer recreational programming and all summer Camp Kidaca programs, as well as the usual Free Summer Supie programs will be cancelled for summer 2020. As a result, the City will not be hiring any summer recreation students.

There are a number of recreation opportunities still available for families to participate in this summer. These include:

  • Recreation at Home - Posted resources and activities for children and their families.  Create an activity calendar by mix and matching 12 weeks of programming ideas.  Posted videos will demonstrate selected activities and encourage further play, engagement, and challenge.
  • EarlyON Child and Family Centres Virtual Programming - EarlyON centres are offering a variety of virtual programs such as story, music and gathering times, as well as activities that families can do at home with their children aged 0-6 years.  EarlyON centres are also offering Indigenous and French Language programming for families.  
  • Hamilton Public Library Virtual Branch - New and favourite library programs – all online. Enjoy preschool get ready to read programs, school-age summer reading and discover at home programs, and teen reading and writing. Find lots of activities, new books and countless summer reading club programs for all ages. It’s a whole summer of fun.
  • Senior Centre without Walls - Seniors’ Centre Without Walls provides free recreational activities over the phone with a group of other older adults in the community. SCWW allows participants to socialize and join in on Trivia, Family Feud, Finish the Lyrics, Brain Games and Fitness Classes with no special equipment required. Pre-registration required by calling 905-973-0891 or emailing [email protected].   
  • June is Senior’s Month, a time for us to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of older adults in our community. This year, it’s particularly important that we stay connected virtually and support seniors in our community. Please take some time to reach out and check in with the seniors in your life or neighbourhood.

In addition to these recreation opportunities already available, we have several other new activities that will be starting up later this summer once the City is able to confirm logistics and the provincial orders related to gatherings are lifted. These include:

  • Recreation at Home Activity Kits – Recreation staff are preparing take and play kits with games and activities from some popular recreation programs. We anticipate that kits will be distributed in the community starting in July.
  • Free Fitness in the Park – Fitness instructors will lead organized fitness classes at community parks for all ages and abilities. Program features include Tai Chi and Family Boot Camp and classes will be scheduled in parks where physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Child Safety Courses – The City is partnering with an online, Home Alone safety course provider to assist 9 to12 year-olds in taking their first step toward independence without direct adult supervision.  These courses will be offered at a reduced rate to Hamilton residents and can be completed at the child’s own pace, on their own time, with opportunities for engagement and discussion with caregivers.
  • Senior of the Year Award – This year’s Senior of the Year Awards event has been postponed indefinitely.  However, we still want to recognize and celebrate the important contributions of seniors in our community.  Senior’s Award recipients will be named in the coming months and will be recognized in a different and unique way.  More information will be shared once available at https://www.hamilton.ca/city-awards/senior-year-awards.

Visit www.hamilton.ca/reopens for more information on these summer programming options.

City parks and park amenities
The public is reminded that City parks and some park amenities are open for use within Public Health guidelines such as physical distancing and not gathering in groups of more than five. Sports fields can be used for passive use by families and small groups of five people or less, who are physical distancing. No organized sports or team sports are permitted on any City sports fields or diamonds. Park benches and other park amenities are also open for use. Residents are reminded that spray pads, drinking fountains and playground structures are still closed.

Escarpment Stairs
The City will begin reopening the escarpment stairs on Friday, June 5. Staff will remove barricades and install signage during the day on Friday, and it is anticipated that all of the stairs will be open by Saturday, June 6. Residents choosing to use the escarpment stairs should continue to keep 2m or 6ft of distance between themselves and others as much as possible. Given the railings are not sanitized, those using the stairs should use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and warm water as soon as possible after using the stairs. As well, users should not gather in large groups or join crowds at the stairs.   

Water Safety
With businesses and other buildings in Hamilton starting to reopen or bring back more staff or other visitors, it’s important to remember that there can be risks associated with stagnant water. If you are a property owner and your building has been closed, or if water usage in the building has decreased significantly because of low occupancy, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of water on your property.

To reopen safely, businesses are encouraged to follow the City of Hamilton’s water safety checklist for safely reopening buildings. The checklist provides the necessary actions such as mapping and flushing of water systems, disinfecting and cleaning, testing and continued maintenance.

Other Reminders

Grass-cutting
The City has received some complaints about longer grass on the edges of some City parks. As a reminder, due to COVID-19, some crews in Public Works are working at reduced staffing capacity due to limited summer students. As a result, while the grass is still being cut, there is a reduced amount of trimming taking place along fence lines and around trees. The City thanks residents for their patience as we do our best to manage the operational impacts from COVID-19 and do our best to keep up with the grass this summer.

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 Reminders
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 that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines. $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June. Communities have flexibility to use the funding to meet their local needs.

The provincial government introduced a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, which will be in place from June 1 - October 31, 2020.

The provincial government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19.

“With the province to extend its emergency orders until June 30, it is important to remember that the ban on gatherings of more than five people outside your household remains in place and many businesses will remain closed. We are at stage one of the provincial plan to reopen Ontario. We need to see a consistent decline in new cases of the virus in order to continue to lift public health restrictions and move to the next stage of re-opening. Please continue to follow the advice of our public health team by washing your hands often, sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces, maintaining a physical distance of two metres from others and wearing a non-medical mask as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Additional Resources

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jasmine Graham
Senior Communications Officer
City of Hamilton
905-973-2829
[email protected]

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