Kanata North COVID-19 March 16 Update

This is a rapidly evolving situation and I encourage everyone to monitor the Ottawa Public Health’s website for the latest information at: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus

Ottawa Public Health  

  • Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, urges people to cancel events of all sizes and limit unimportant trips out of their homes, in order to reduce transmission.
  • Ottawa Public Health has accepted the recommendation from the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that all bars, theaters and entertainment venues should close temporarily, and that restaurants limit operations to take-out and delivery as of tomorrow.
  • A reminder to please increase practices of social distancing. This means:
    • Limiting non-essential trips out of the home.
    • Working to maintain a distance of 1-2 meters from other people as much as possible.
    • We are asking people to keep their children home from daycare if possible.
    • Check with their employers about options for working from home or implementing distancing at work.
  • Today there are 3 additional confirmed cases, bringing the total number to 13 cases in Ottawa.
  • Ottawa Public Health continues to be the most reliable up to date source of information for residents.  Please visit their website often.

City of Ottawa 

  • Effective immediately the City is suspending enforcement of unsigned 3 hour parking restrictions in residential areas.
  • The City of Ottawa’s Finance Department is currently evaluating if the City is in a position to enact tax deferral measures that would help some small businesses manage their cash flow and payroll obligations. More information on this to come.

Ottawa Small Businesses

Earlier today, Mayor Jim Watson announced that an Economic Partners Task Force has been created to support small businesses, along with their employees who are hurting deeply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Mayor Watson and Councillor El-Chantiry and will advise our staff in many departments on how the City can help the business community as the pandemic evolves.

Ottawa is fortunate to have a number of proactive and credible business organizations who will be valued partners and contributors in these efforts. The Economic Partners Task Force will be composed of the following leaders of our business community:

  • Mark Kaluski, Chair, Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)
  • Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
  • Lise Sarazin, directrice générale, Regroupement des gens d’affaires (RGA)
  • Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism
  • Carole Anne Piccinin, Executive Director, Ottawa Festival Network

City staff are currently assessing ways the City can help small business owners get through this crisis. The Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development team will be leading this initiative and working with the Task Force to maintain open lines of communication, as well as assess and roll-out a number of measures to support locally-owned shops and restaurants.

OC Transpo Update 

OC Transpo is taking many proactive steps throughout OC Transpo’s operations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the safety of the operators and the customers they serve.

Rear door boarding
Starting today, OC Transpo will immediately implement rear door boarding on all conventional buses. This has been instituted in other European Transit Agencies and is supported by our Union Leadership and Management as a prudent mitigation measure.

  • Customers with accessibility needs can continue to board at the front of the bus.
  • All other customers must use the rear doors only.
  • Tape will be installed to separate the operator cab and accessible seating areas from the rest of the bus.
  • Prominent signage will be placed at the front and rear doors to inform customers of the change
  • Customers can find information on these changes on all of OC Transpo’s communications channels.
  • Oc Transpo anticipates that this policy will result in some loss in revenue. Staff have prepared estimates that will be tracked for possible reimbursement if funding becomes available, in particular:
    • Operators will not be accepting cash fares or paper transfers from customers boarding at the rear of the bus; and,
    • Due to the configuration of some of the buses in our fleet, some customers will not be able to tap their Presto cards when they board.
    • We believe that the potential loss of revenue associated with this change in practice is a necessary cost to protect the safety of our staff and our customers.

Bus Operations 

  • OC Transpo has implemented enhanced cleaning of our conventional bus operator cabs, to include daily wipe downs with anti-viral disinfectant.
  • Customer areas will receive sanitizing on handrails, stanchion posts including stairwells as part of established cleaning schedules.
  • Disinfectant is being provided for cleaning of non-revenue vehicles, such as Special Constables, supervisors, etc.

Rail Operations 

  • Contractors for both Line 1 and 2 have brought on additional cleaning staff and are committed to enhanced cleaning of both stations and rail vehicles.
  • Every rail vehicle is going into service with every surface from floor to ceiling cleaned and disinfected, including operator cabs.
  • Rail vehicles will have every surface disinfected nightly.
  • As more resources become available, we will move to performing targeted cleaning of rail vehicles while in service. This will include wipe downs of surfaces that experience regular touching such as stanchions, hand straps and hand holds.
  • Cleaning of rail stations on Line 1 is also being enhanced with additional staff both day and night.
  • Overnight deep cleaning will focus on disinfecting all touched surfaces, including vending machines, handrails, doorknobs/handles, elevators, escalators, washrooms, glass and floors.
  • Additional resources are also being brought in to do daytime cleaning in stations with the target of cleaning high traffic areas in each station every eight hours.

Para Operations 

  • The scheduled cleaning of Para Transpo vehicles is being enhanced to include daily sanitizing of the Operator area and the cleaning of common customer touch points such as handrails, windowsills, floors and ceilings within our passenger areas.
  • OC Transpo Management is in contact with Ottawa’s taxi providers, who have advised that they are taking steps to increase cleaning and sanitizing of their vehicles, including those used to transport Para Transpo customers.

Customer Service Staff 

  • Contact points with customers such as fare vending machines and counters are receiving enhanced cleaning with appropriate sanitizer products.

Signage 

  • Posters have been placed at all OC Transpo Customer Service Centres and transit stations to remind customers to avoid taking transit if they are ill or have come into contact with someone who tested positive with COVID-19.

S1 service 

  • As the situation evolves, OC Transpo Senior Management is closely monitoring our ridership numbers and actions being taken by other Canadian and international transit agencies. In response to ridership numbers, starting on Tuesday, we will end daily S1 service and redeploy those buses to support routes in the rest of the transit network. S1 service can be redeployed, should circumstances warrant.

OC Transpo staff are taking this situation very seriously and working closely with the Office of Emergency Management, Ottawa Public Health and other City departments. The above steps are being actioned to help ensure the safety and health of our customers and staff.

Provincial Government Announcements: 

  • The Province has released an online Self-Assessment tool that can be found here.
  • The Province has announced proposed Job Protection Legislation during the Covid-19 situation. The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
    • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19
    • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
    • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
    • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.The employer directs the employee not to work.
    • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
    • The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.

Full details are available here.

As part of the Ontario government’s response to COVID-19, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is reviewing access to and eligibility for emergency assistance that is currently available through the Ontario Works program. You can apply online or contact your local Ontario Works office. A simplified application form will be available over the coming days.

  • Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Ontario Ministry of Health, has now advised cancelling events or gatherings over 50 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • He also advised the following establishments should close temporarily (until further notice):
    • Recreation programs
    • Libraries
    • Churches and other faith settings
    • In person dine-in restaurants and bars – NOTE: except for food establishments that offer take out and/or delivery services
    • All childcare centres, licensed home childcare and Early ON Child and Family centres
  • Other establishments also strongly recommended by Ottawa Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, include:
    • Nightclubs and after-hours bars
    • Movie Theatres
    • Concert and indoor live-entertainment venues

Federal Government Announcement

This afternoon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided the following remarks:

  • We will be denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This measure will carve out some designated exceptions including for aircrews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and at this time, US citizens.
  • Air operators will be formally mandated to prevent all travellers who present symptoms of COVID-19 to board a plane. Air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every air traveller based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This means that anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada.
  • To help asymptomatic Canadians return home, our government will set up a support program for Canadians who need to get on a plane. Canadian travelers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada.
  • Starting Wednesday, March 18th, only four Canadian airports will be accepting international flights – Toronto Pearson Airport, Montreal-Trudeau Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Calgary International Airport. At this time, domestic flights as well as flights coming from the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and St. Pierre-et-Miquelon will not be affected. The travel restrictions announced today will not apply to commerce or trade. We will continue to ensure the supply of important goods to Canada.
  • We will make $10 billion available in additional support for Canadian businesses. This is a tool that has worked before in difficult circumstances and we’re confident that it’s going to work again. The economic impact of this pandemic is shifting hourly and we recognize the stress and anxiety this is causing. As I’ve said, we are prepared to see Canadians through this time. We will have additional measures to announce as early as tomorrow to support Canadians, particularly our most vulnerable.
  • I want to remind all Canadians that they should avoid non-essential travel outside of our country until further notice. Canadian travelers should return to Canada via commercial means while it is still possible to do so. Let me be clear: if you are abroad, now is the time to come home. If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days. And finally, all Canadians should stay home.

Kanata North Community Announcements: 

  • A number of local businesses have modified their business hours and/or closed.  If you must leave your house please check to see if your destination is open.
  • Kanata Theatre has announced it has cancelled its scheduled performances.
  • Elective surgeries are being postponed.  Please check with your health care provider.
  • A number of local daycares have closed or implemented additional screening.  Please check with your daycare provider.

Despite another day of announcements, it is important to stay as active as you can. Get outside. Enjoy the sunshine and the outdoors. Check in on your neighbours. Let’s remember that this too shall pass.

Take care everyone.

Please reach out with any questions, concerns or if you need assistance.