Good afternoon Kanata North,
Today, the Province announced an Ontario-wide lockdown starting at 12:01am as of Saturday, December 26, 2020 and continuing in Ottawa until Saturday, January 23, 2021.
I agree with Mayor Jim Watson and Dr. Vera Etches. Today’s provincial announcement has completely blindsided Ottawa residents and small businesses, who have been diligently following the rules for months. I know this is frustrating and I share your frustration, but this is a provincial decision and not a city decision and we have to follow the rules.
What exactly does that mean for our community? The current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the provincewide shutdown comes into effect. Please see important updates below and continue to follow Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Province-wide lockdown measures
Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
- Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.
Please review this 28-page “Provincewide Shutdown Deck” PDF file for details.
The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.
Remote Learning after Winter Break
All publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools will move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021.
In Ottawa, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning. During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open.
From January 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care for health care and frontline workers will be provided. School boards will be required to make provisions to continued in-person support for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning from whom remote learning is challenging.
New Ontario Small Business Support Grant
Today, the government announced a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 for eligible businesses. Eligible small businesses include those that:
- Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
- Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
- Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available here. Further details, including how to apply, will be announced in January 2021.
Please look out for each other. Virtually, check in on loved ones and reach out to family, friends, and neighbours. The holidays can be a tough time for many, and the pandemic might add extra tension and solitude, especially as we are heading into a provincewide shutdown. And please seek help if needed. You can find available community resources on my website.
Lastly, please keep supporting our local small business community in any way you can during these tough times by ordering take-out or purchasing gift cards. I have seen our community pull together and be incredibly resilient to the many challenges we have faced, and I know we will get through this together.
Stay safe. Be COVIDWise.
City Councillor – Kanata North