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COVID-19 Update: Updates from the City of Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON - Today the City of Hamilton is providing some additional updates as part of the City’s continued efforts for a gradual, safe and measured reopening of municipal facilities and the restart of programs and services.

New Physical Distancing By-law in effect starting August 13, 2020
With the need to continue practicing physical distancing to protect residents from the ongoing risk of COVID-19, the City of Hamilton is implementing a new Physical Distancing By-law (17-225) effective August 13, 2020. The new by-law ensures that not only business owners ensure compliance with the regulation per the provincial legislation, but that individuals attending an establishment or spending time out in the community also take personal responsibility for compliance.

Municipal Law Enforcement officers will continue to use progressive enforcement of this new by-law, seeking voluntary compliance first with all regulations and by-laws before issuing fines.

Under the new by-law, the fine for individuals who fail to maintain a distance of at least two (2) meters from another person who are not members of the same household or who are not members of the same social circle is $500. Individuals found obstructing an Officer of Authorized staff will also face a fine of $500.

Unlike the previous by-law, this one will not have a termination date, but rather can be repealed by Council when it is deemed no longer necessary to practice physical distancing in Hamilton.

This by-law does not apply to Police Officers, City employees or persons hired or engaged by the City to do work or perform services in a Public Space, while performing policing, municipal or enforcement services, including but not limited to, the enforcement of this by-law.

Background: On July 24, 2020 the provincially declared COVID-19 emergency came to an end and the province enacted the Reopening Ontario Act (“ROA”) which allows the province to extend its current emergency orders under the EMCPA. With that change, the City’s By-law to promote and regulate physical distancing (“Physical Distancing By-law”) became no longer in force.

 

Public Health Services Update

Gatherings and Social Visits
With the increase in gatherings and socializing, it is important for residents to stay diligent and continue to practice public health management measures in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. These measures include:

  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds;
  • Staying home if sick, self-isolating from others and getting tested;
  • Keeping a physical distance of at least two metres from others in your group, unless they are household members or in your social circle of 10;
  • Wearing a mask or face covering in an enclosed space, especially in settings where it is difficult to maintain a physical distance from others;
  • Meeting up outside and keeping gathering times short; and
  • Taking extra precautions if people are elderly or have chronic health conditions.

 

Guidance for Businesses and Workplaces
As more businesses and workplaces continue to reopen, the provincial government and the City of Hamilton have released guidelines for businesses and workplaces to reopen safely. The Workplaces and Public Places webpage includes guidance documents, posters and signage, as well as focused information for:

  • Attractions, shows and theatres
  • Childcare centres
  • Community gardens
  • Faith-based gatherings and funerals
  • Harm reduction settings
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Personal service settings
  • Residential buildings
  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • Schools
  • Sports teams and recreational facilities
  • Summer day camps
  • Taxis and ride sharing
  • Water safety

Find these guidance documents and more at: www.hamilton.ca/PublicPlaces.

Restart of Civil Marriage Ceremonies at City Hall
Starting August 24, 2020 the City will once again be offering civil marriage ceremonies to couples looking to have a simple, non-religious marriage ceremony or vow renewal at Hamilton City Hall, by appointment only, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All visitors attending City Hall for a scheduled consultation meeting or Civil Marriage Ceremony must complete a COVID-19 self-assessment health screening before entering, wear a face covering or mask in City Hall public spaces and adhere to physical distancing protocols. For more information, visit https://www.hamilton.ca/life-events/marriage-licences/civil-marriage-ceremony or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 905-546-2424 ext. 4408 or [email protected].

Restarting Enforcement of On-street and Overnight Parking By-law
Starting Monday, August 17, 2020 Parking Enforcement staff will begin re-enforcing the 12-hour on street and overnight parking by-law. The City had relaxed its enforcement of the by-law the last few months with many residents working from home. With the City’s move into Stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan a couple of weeks ago, and many residents returning to work, enforcement of the by-law will restart next week. Parking staff will continue to use discretion and take an educational approach with residents the first few weeks of re-enforcement.

Wind down of COVID-19 Community Agency Funding Program
The City of Hamilton’s Funding Application for Social Service Providers and Community Organizations has closed. To date $641,450 has been allocated to 32 organizations, benefiting approximately 32,928 community members. All applications submitted prior to August 12, 2020 will be processed. For questions about the status of an existing application, please contact [email protected].

The City remains committed to working with community partners and organizations to ensure the stability and continuity of essential supports. The remainder of the fund will be used to enhance the City’s comprehensive response to support individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Ensuring the availability of emergency shelter spaces with appropriate physical distancing and provision of isolation spaces for those experiencing homelessness who test positive for COVID-19. The City has developed a framework to guide its transition from emergency response to service adaption and transformation. A key component of the framework is maintaining proportional availability of emergency beds. 
  • Funding two additional Mental Health and Street Outreach Workers until December 31, 2020. The Outreach team provides mobile support services, engages with people in the community, helps to make linkages to resources and supports through collaboration and co-ordination with local homeless support services. 
  • For individuals who are unable to access shelter beds, the City has enhanced and extended drop-in services through Living Rock Ministries and Wesley Centre and extended Carole Ann’s Place and Willow’s Place beyond their usual warm weather closure. This will also allow for increased access to hygiene centres, washroom facilities and laundry.

Additional COVID-19 supports for non-profits are also available from other levels of governments. The Ontario government is investing $83 million through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, recover from COVID-19 and continue the delivery of vital programming in their communities. The OTF's Resilient Communities Fund will provide grants of up to $150,000 to help eligible non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. For more information, visit the Ontario Trillium Foundation website on eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

Reminder: Municipal Service Centres Reopening Next Week
The City is reopening its Municipal Service Centres (MSCs) in Ancaster, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, Dundas and Flamborough next week. The MSCs in Ancaster, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek will be open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The MSCs in Dundas and Flamborough will be open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Residents will be able to pay property taxes, parking tickets and traffic tickets, pick up new blue boxes, get animal licenses, pick up composters, purchase HSR bus tickets and passes, apply for a marriage license, apply for a burn permit and pick up well water test kits. A number of changes will be in place when the buildings reopen, and masks or face coverings are required.

 

“The extension of Hamilton’s Physical Distancing By-Law ensures we continue to do our best to protect everybody from the virus. Since its implementation in April, Hamiltonians have taken the by-law seriously as well as their role in flattening the curve of COVID-19. The virus is still present in Hamilton and poses a serious risk to the health, safety and well-being of our community, but I am proud of the response from Hamiltonians. Please continue to follow public health recommendations to help keep yourself, your neighbours and our community safe.”
-Mayor Fred Eisenberger

 

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