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COVID-19 Update: Updates from the City of Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON – Earlier today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger joined Chief Eric Girt, Hamilton Police Service, 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 206 confirmed cases and six 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.

COVID-19-related supports from other levels of government

The City is providing information on its website about the various financial supports available from other levels of government to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. For more information, visit: https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/financial-support-individuals.

Holiday weekend shutdown

Due to the holiday weekend taking place on Friday, April 10 to Monday, April 13 the following City services will have changes:

  • Green Cart, Recycling and Garbage Collection
  • HSR Bus Schedules
  • ATS-DARTS
  • Hamilton Farmers’ Market Hours

Learn more about these changes by visiting the City’s website.

Holiday weekend reminders/enforcement of gatherings and physical distancing

Since the provincial government declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020, it granted power to municipal law enforcement officers to enforce Orders issued by the Province under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Further to this, Hamilton City Council yesterday enacted a new Physical Distancing by-law to prohibit certain activities and to regulate physical distancing during the COVID-19 Emergency. City of Hamilton By-law Officers are using a progressive enforcement approach to help residents understand the requirements of this order. However, the fine for individuals is $500 and this may 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.

Residents are also reminded that gatherings of more than five (5) people are currently illegal in Ontario. This holds true for private social family gatherings or religious celebrations for Easter, Passover or other faith-based holidays in April, as well as parades, weddings and other social gatherings and communal services within places of worship. Residents organizing or attending gatherings of more than five (5) people may be charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which carries a fine starting at $750. Hamilton Police and Hamilton Municipal Law Enforcement will be charging residents who do not abide by this law.

This law does not apply to private households with five of more people living in them.  

To report concerns:

  • Concern about a local business or public gatherings of 5+ people, without physical distancing: 905-546-2489 (546-CITY)
  • Business not following proper hygiene: 905-974-9848
  • Inquiring if a business is essential: 1-888-444-3659
  • Price-gouging reporting: 1-800-889-9768

Property Tax Assistance Program

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 emergency, yesterday Hamilton City Council approved the implementation of a Property Tax Assistance Program that will see penalties and interest for unpaid 2020 Property Tax Instalments waived as follows:

  • The 2020 Interim Property Tax Instalment due on April 30th - penalty and interest charges will be waived for a period of 60 days.
    • Taxpayers who are not able to make a payment by the due date of April 30th, will not be charged penalty and interest in May or June on late payments. If the April 30th instalment is not paid by June 30th, it will be subject to penalty and interest starting July 1st. Waiving of penalty and interest is only applicable to this instalment amount, not prior arrears.
  • The 2020 Final Property Tax Instalment due on June 30th - penalty will be waived for a period of 30 days.
    • Taxpayers who are not able to make a payment by the due date of June 30th, will not be charged penalties in July on late payments. If the June 30th instalment is not paid by July 31st, it will be subject to penalty and interest starting August 1st. Waiving of penalty and interest is only applicable to this instalment amount, not prior arrears.
  • The 2020 Final Property Tax Instalment due on September 30th  - penalty and interest charges will not be waived, at this time.
  • Taxpayers currently enrolled in a pre-authorized payment plan, withdrawals will continue as per your respective plan. The City will waive the administrative fee for any returned payments, effective immediately and up to July 31, 2020. The waiving of the administrative fee for returned payments will also apply to returned cheques and other non-property tax payments.
  • The City will also be waiving any penalty and interest charges related to charges added to the tax roll (for example water arrears, property standards, etc.) until July 31, 2020. Any related taxation administrative fee to add charges to the tax roll will also be waived during this same time period.

While Hamilton City Hall and Municipal Service Centres continue to be closed to the public, there are a number of convenient options available for residents looking to continue to pay their property taxes during this time.

Transit reminders

The City is reminding residents that public transit is for essential travel only. Please do 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 reminded to adhere to physical distancing measures, please do not sit in seats that have been blocked off to promote physical distancing.

We are also reminding customers that DARTS is now providing bus-stop to bus-stop service for HSR customers using wheelchairs, scooters and CNIB cardholders:

  • Call DARTS at 905-529-1717 at least one hour before the desired departure time, or up to two days in advance
  • Identify yourself as an HSR customer
  • Provide DARTS with a departure bus stop number and the desired time of pick-up
  • Provide DARTS with a final destination bus stop number (i.e.: exclude usual transfers)
  • Wait at the bus stop for a DARTS vehicle to arrive and provide your name, and show your CNIB card, if applicable, to the DARTS driver before you board

Resident reminder: parks open, equipment and amenities closed

Parks, including Gage Park and Bayfront Park, are currently open. Parking lots, play structures, playing fields, field houses, park benches, and other park amenities are closed. Residents can use greenspace in parks to get fresh air, however everyone must stay at least 2m or 6ft from other park users. Do not gather in groups of more than five including mixing with people from other households.

Resident reminder: City golf courses closed

Residents are reminded that the City’s golf courses are closed for use.

Supporting vulnerable residents

The City has placed multiple portable washrooms and hygiene stations downtown at York Blvd and Bay St. outside of First Ontario Centre to support our residents experiencing homelessness. We are also working alongside our homeless-serving agencies (Good Shepherd Centre, Mission Services and the Salvation Army with support from the Shelter Health Network) to ensure the health and safety of those who are at-risk and/or experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City and its community partners are also erecting a temporary shelter based out of First Ontario Centre, which will open this weekend. It will accommodate 50 beds/spaces, allowing additional space for a surge shelter, if needed.

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. 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.

Donation bins

To help maintain the health and wellbeing of residents, the City will be collecting donated items that have been left at local donation bins (ie Diabetes Canada donation bins) and the bins themselves and storing them for the agencies until such time as the bins can be put back out and donations can safely resume.

“This holiday weekend, please refrain from meeting in-person for any faith-based celebrations. Find creative, digital means to celebrate with friends and family members. A reminder that gatherings of more than five people are prohibited and the City’s new Physical Distancing by-law can fine individuals for not abiding by the recommendations of our health officials. Stay home and stay safe, Hamilton. Together, we can help flatten the curve of this virus.” - Mayor Fred Eisenberger

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