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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 Operations 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 a total of 842 cases, an increase of 9 positive cases from yesterday (834 confirmed positive cases, 8 probable cases), and 44 deaths from COVID-19 in Hamilton.  We are also reporting that of the 842 cases, 737, or 87.5% are resolved. More details about cases are available on the City’s website including demographics, risk factors, exposure, etc.

"HAMILTON REOPENS" – New for June 30

City to distribute non-medical masks for transit users
As we increase the capacity on HSR buses and return to loading customers in through the front door for fare collection on July 1, the City is reminding customers that they are required to wear a non-medical mask while riding the bus, taking DARTS and using TRANSCAB.

Starting Monday, July 6, HSR will begin a temporary program to distribute non-medical masks to customers who cannot acquire one through another means. The masks will be available at the Hunter St Go Station customer service ticket counter beginning on Monday, and staff are also working with both DARTS and local social service organizations to distribute the masks where needed.

The masks are one-time use only, and will be available only while supplies last. HSR is committed to the safety of our operators and customers, and is distributing these masks to help provide customers with a temporary solution until they can acquire their own personal mask to use consistently on future travel.

HSR is seeing a compliance rate of approximately 75% since June 22, when it became mandatory to wear a non-medical mask while using public transit.

Rec at the Park “Take Home Kits”
Beginning Monday, July 6, the City will start distributing “take home kits” for children in the community as part of the Rec at the Park program. Staff will distribute the kits in select parks for 7 weeks, except for the week of August 3 for the Civic holiday, with the goal of visiting 27 parks a week.

The kits will include games and activities that children can take and do at home. There will also be related content including videos on the website each week.

The website will be updated with a list of parks, along with the information about the kit and the weekly video at www.Hamilton.ca/recatthepark 

Filming to resume in the city
Filming can resume at certain locations in the city the week of July 6, which will help support economic recovery. Revised Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario, as well as best practices for the industry in response to COVID-19 have been approved and posted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. Productions will be required to follow the guidelines and have a site-specific health and safety plan in place for each film location.

Hamilton is one of the busiest film destinations in Ontario (second after the City of Toronto). In 2019, productions spent approximately $60M in Hamilton on local products and services, hotel stays, etc. Over the past two years we’ve seen an approximately 50% increase in volume of permits issued and year over year increases in the number of filming days in the city. Last year, 141 productions were filmed in Hamilton.

Fireworks Ban
On Wednesday, May 13, Hamilton City Council voted to amend the City's Fireworks and Administrative Penalties By-law (By-law 02-285) and invoke a temporary fireworks ban.

To help prevent large gatherings and the spread of COVID-19, to reduce the potential for fires at a time when emergency response teams are required to handle issues directly related to the COVID-19 emergency, and to protect emergency response and Municipal Law Enforcement staff from having to inspect more businesses or respond to more situations than necessary during the pandemic, effective immediately, the sale and discharge of all fireworks in the City of Hamilton is prohibited until July 4, 2020.

The temporary ban includes the use of sparklers, which the government of Canada classifies as consumer fireworks. Residents found to be acting not in accordance with the temporary ban will be subject to a penalty of $500. Penalties apply to residents, businesses and non-residents. After July 4, the ban is slated to be lifted, but the former regulations would apply

Hamilton Paramedic Services: “Thank you Hamilton”
Earlier this afternoon, Hamilton Paramedic Services published its new “Thank You Hamilton” video, produced to thank residents and businesses in Hamilton for their support during the COVID-19 global pandemic situation. From donations of food, hand sanitizer, PPE and messages of thanks and encouragement, Hamilton’s 400+ Paramedic Services staff have continued to deliver outstanding pre-hospital care, and this video is meant to thank the community for their role in supporting the team.

Video link: https://youtu.be/lfkqQYKGax0

“Pay by Phone” Mobile Parking App
Based on Council direction, and with input from the City’s Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Hamilton Municipal Parking System staff have been preparing to implement a mobile payment option for parking, referred to as “pay-by-phone”. The new mobile parking app will launch on Monday, July 6.

Residents can use the app to easily pay for parking on all on-street parking meters and Municipal car parks in Hamilton. Payment by coin at meters and coin/credit card in off-street lots will still be available. More information on the Pay by Phone parking app will be shared later this week.

"HAMILTON REOPENS" – Reminders

Garage Sales
The City is strongly discouraging the public from organizing or attending garage sales and yard sales at this time. Garage sales and yard sales will not be allowed on City property including sidewalks, parking lots and vacant lands. This includes the annual Beach Strip Garage Sale on July 11 and 12. In accordance with the current provincial orders, the public is not permitted to gather in groups of more than 10 at this time.

Keeping a two-metre (six-foot) physical distance from others is difficult at garage sales, and often cash transactions are required. As well, the number of people who stop at the sale can grow unexpectedly. It is also not possible to know the health or travel history of people coming to the garage sale. Further, COVID-19 can survive on different surfaces for varying lengths of time. This means if someone touches or picks up items at a sale, they could be exposing themselves to illness.

The City will be proactively inspecting the Beach Strip area beginning Friday July 10 to Sunday July 12 and will take the necessary enforcement actions for by-law violations. Signage will also be going up in the area and staff will be going door-to-door in early July to ensure beach residents are aware of this cancellation.

Child Care Update
There are 233 licensed child care sites and just over 14,400 child care spaces in the City of Hamilton. There are 130 programs that normally operate full year, and had planned to operate this summer. Sixty-four (49%) of those programs are open or have a plan in place to open in July. At this time, the other 66 have not indicated their plans. Twenty-nine of these are small school age programs that operate in schools. Looking at the programs that would normally be operating in the summer:

  • 11 programs are currently in a position to open (they planned on opening this week and have completed the Public Health inspection)
  • 15 are planning to open next week
  • 38 are planning to open in July/August (one is in August so far)

This means that 49% of programs are opening or have a plan in place that they are working on.

Field Permits
As a reminder, the City will begin to update all field permit requests with the goal of permits allowing for groups to begin training on July 3, 2020. For sports teams in the community that are looking to restart training, the number of people on the field at any one time will continue to be limited. This includes:

  • Two groups of 10 (two clearly separate groups) on the larger fields
  • One group of 10 on the smaller fields

As a reminder, under the current provincial orders as part of the province's Stage 2 of its reopening plan, outdoor team sports may resume for training purposes only, with no scrimmages or games. Games will resume once the province provides approval to do so. Field permits will be issued for practices/training during daylight hours at this time there will be no permits that include lights.

Public Health Services Canada Day Closures

On July 1, the Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Centre at Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena will be closed.  Residents are encouraged to book an appointment time for testing by calling their family doctor or by Hamilton Public Health Services at 905-974-9848.

“Canada Day is a time to reflect on our great country and how much we, as Canadians, have achieved. It is also a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family, but this year, more than ever, we also need to stand together. We must ensure we remain vigilant and stay the course on all of the Public Health measures we’ve put in place to keep everyone safe, such as physical distancing, washing our hands and wearing a non-medical mask while we are out. Let’s continue to do our part to limit the spread of the virus while safely enjoying activities together. As your Mayor, I am so proud of what we, as a community, and we as Canadians, have achieved so far. Happy Canada Day!”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger

 

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