Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Impacts on Municipal Services

Posted on Friday May 01, 2020

Update: May 1, 2020

The Town of Penetanguishene continues to monitor news and updates concerning COVID-19 in order to ensure we work to keep our community members safe.  To make sure our community can stay involved and up to date we will continue to provide weekly updates through our website email subscription service.

Current updates are as follows:

  • It was announced on April 25th that the use of community gardens across the province is now permitted.  Residents who rented a plot at the Ecology garden last year will be contacted to inquire about renewing their rental for 2020. An update will follow in the coming weeks if additional plots are available for rent. Please note we will be releasing new rules regarding the operation of the garden to ensure physical distancing and proper sanitization protocols are followed. 
  • The Ministry has clarified that building permits for residential projects including decks, sheds and other small residential projects that are solely owner built (no hired contractors) can be issued and work can begin as soon as a permit is obtained.
    • Any questions related to building permits and inspections protocol can be addressed by leaving a voicemail at 705-549-7453 (Penetanguishene offices) or 705-526-4275, Ext 2248 (Midland offices) or email building@midland.ca

  • The Town of Penetanguishene and The Canadian Union of Public Employees have agreed to a reduced work week by 1 day per week for employees in all areas of the Corporation. This reduction is necessary due to the extended cancellation of several non-essential Town services and the resulting financial impact.
  • The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen May 4th at 12:01am. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. To read the full list of approved businesses visit: ow.ly/lGw350zuuda

Community Reminders:

  • OPP ask that you report allegations of non-compliance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act by phoning 1-888-310-1122 or utilizing the online reporting tool at opp.ca/reporting. If you have questions about what businesses can be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • The provincial fire ban is for Ontario MNRF fire zones and doesn’t apply to Penetanguishene residents at this time. Fire permits are not required at this time. Please remember that fires are for recreational purposes and are only permitted between 4:00 pm to midnight.
  •  Please refer to the “Open Air Burning Permit Terms and Conditions” attachment for guidelines and more information.
  • Our municipal parks and trails remain open however all park amenities such as play structures, courts and the dog park are closed.  Our wharf and launch ramp also remain closed at this time.  When out in the parks remember to always practice physical distancing by leaving at least 2 meters (6 feet) of space between you and anyone you may pass. 
  • The County of Simcoe has released the second phase of the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. To date, the County has received approximately 354 responses. Local business are encouraged to complete the survey to help us and our business service partners understand the changing conditions and needs your business may face. The survey will close May 8th.

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Update: April 24, 2020

The Town of Penetanguishene continues to monitor news and updates concerning COVID-19 in order to ensure we work to keep our community members safe.  To make sure our community can stay involved and up to date we will continue to provide weekly updates through our website email subscription service.

Current updates are as follows:

  • In a further effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Town of Midland, Town of Penetanguishene and Township of Tay have cancelled the spring Treasure Days event scheduled for May 23-24, 2020.
    • The bi-annual event, where residents in all three municipalities leave unwanted household items at their curb, and residents drive around searching for items they could use and claiming these items free of charge, takes place in May and October each year. The fall Treasure Days event is still scheduled to take place October 17-18. However, a further update will be provided if/when that plan changes.
    • Please refrain from organizing  garage sales to ensure you are keeping with social and physical distancing practices.
  • Penetanguishene Plays at Home is a new online resource full of virtual at home activities that can be done from the comfort of your own home. This tool makes it easier for residents to access health & wellness information, children’s activities, concerts and participate in virtual field trips from popular places all over the world.
  • OPP ask that you report allegations of non-compliance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act by phoning 1-888-310-1122 or utilizing the online reporting tool at opp.ca/reporting. If you have questions about what businesses can be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

  • The provincial fire ban is for Ontario MNRF fire zones and doesn’t apply to Penetanguishene residents at this time. Fire permits are not required at this time. Please remember that fires are for recreational purposes and are only permitted between 4:00 pm to midnight.
  • Our municipal parks and trails remain open however all park amenities such as play structures, courts and the dog park are closed.  Our wharf and launch ramp also remain closed at this time.  When out in the parks remember to always practice physical distancing by leaving at least 6 feet of space between you and anyone you may pass. 

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Update: April17, 2020

The Town continues to monitor COVID-19 circumstances closely to ensure we are able to provide our essential services in a way that is healthy for our staff and community. To make sure our community can stay involved and up to date we will continue to provide weekly updates through our website email subscription service.

The following are some current updates:

  • OPP ask that you report allegations of non-compliance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act by phoning 1-888-310-1122 or utilizing the online reporting tool at opp.ca/reporting. If you have questions about what businesses can be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • Town Council and Committee of the Whole will electronically meet April 22, 2020. Council will meet at 7:00pm, immediately followed by Committee of the Whole.  Council and COW meetings can be streamed live online at Rogerstv.com. To ensure social distancing provisions are maintained, this meeting will be available for viewing on Rogers TV only as staff and members of Council will be participating in the meeting electronically.  Questions from the Media and Public related to items on this agenda can be emailed to the Town Clerk and will be read during the meeting where applicableA recording of the meeting will be available on our YouTube channel the following day.
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is requesting PPE donations and supplies for our local health care providers. If you are able to donate please email: EmergencyManagement@smdhu.org
    • Please be advised that the Town of Midland and Penetanguishene’s building permits and inspections protocol has been amended based on an order issued by the Province of Ontario under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act on April 3, 2020 (Ontario Regulation 119/20) which relates to the Closure of Places of Non-essential Businesses, including certain construction. Please click here for the full Ontario Regulation 119/20.

The attachment provided provides the following:

  • Types of construction that are listed as Essential Businesses
  • Changes to the permit intake process
  • Changes to inspection protocol for:
    • Homeowners
    • Residential Builders
    • Multiple Residential/Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI)

Any questions related to building permits and inspections protocol can be addressed by leaving a voicemail at 705-549-7453 (Penetanguishene offices) or 705-526-4275, Ext 2248 (Midland offices) or email building@midland.ca

Visit www.penetanguishene.ca or call 705-549-7453 for more information.  

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UPDATE: April 9, 2020

Here, in Penetanguishene and across the world, people are adapting to a new kind of life as we work collectively to lessen the spread of COVID-19.   To make sure our community can stay involved and up to date we will continue to provide weekly updates through our website email subscription service.

  • Transit Service Update - The Mid-Pen Transit Service will not be running on Good Friday (April 10), Saturday, April 11, Sunday, April 12 (as usual) or on Easter Monday (April 12). Normally the service runs on the Saturday of Easter Weekend, however,? due to the reduced transit staff available? the decision has been made to shut down service over the long weekend to give transit operators?? a much-needed break to spend with their families.  Service will resume on Tuesday, April 14 and will operate on the reduced hour "Saturday" service at least through Saturday, April 25. Transit will remain free to use, but we ask that riders limit their use of the service to essential trips only.???  The County of Simcoe has also informed us that there is a temporary LINX Transit schedules in effect starting Monday, April 13. Click the link to view schedule changes.  http://ow.ly/KUXa50z9cIE
  • The provincial fire ban is for Ontario MNRF fire zones and doesn’t apply to Penetanguishene residents at this time, but REMEMBER fires are only allowed from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am and ensure you practice physical distancing if you do have a small fire. Your fire is for your household and you should not be inviting over friends, family, and neighbours.
  • The Province has required that no new construction occur which was in last week’s update to the essential businesses. Inspections are occurring with some conditions  and we encourage residents to email our building department for any inquiries or inspection requests.
  • Our municipal parks remain open however all park amenities such as play structures, courts and the dog park are closed.  Our wharf and launch ramp also remain closed at this time.  When out in the parks remember to always practice physical distancing by leaving at least 6 feet of space between you and anyone you may pass. 
  • If you’re looking for some wonderful community spirit and interesting activities check out our Penetanguishene Public Library, Centennial Museum and Recreation Facebook pages. 
  • Both the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce and the County of Simcoe have taken on the task of maintaining an online directory of local businesses and some information around their operating hours.  Note that this list is not an ALL INCLUSIVE and updates are made as efficiently as possible based on communications from business owners.  A link to each site is provided below as well as contact information should business owners wish to have their information updated. 

We can’t stress enough that even though we want to keep the Penetanguishene community spirit alive – we also want to promote self-care and healthy habits. Remember, physical distancing plays a critical role in fighting this virus.  It's also important to be kind to your neighbours - everyone is doing their best to get through this difficult time and now is an opportunity to show kindness and respect to those around you.

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UPDATE: April 6, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.

In response to the updated provincial order related to the closure of non-essential services, the Town of Penetanguishene wharf and launch ramp will remain closed until further notice.

The Town will continue to monitor direction provided by the province and consider a delayed opening.  The Town will provide ongoing communication to the public and slip renters as the status of the pandemic situation progresses. 

Any questions related to essential access will be addressed by leaving a voicemail at 705-549-7453 or email sdesjardins@penetanguishene.ca.

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UPDATE: April 3, 2020 - 4:00 p.m. 

We are all facing a unique and rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19.  The Town continues to monitor the circumstances closely to ensure we are able to provide our essential services in a way that is healthy for our staff and community. 

The following are some current updates:

  • If you need to find access to mental health support, food services, financial assistance or more call 211 – day or night. Their community navigators can help you find the supports you need. For more information visit: www.211.ca. It's as easy as dialing 211, the three digit phone number for referrals to community and social services across Ontario.
  • The OPP is requesting community compliance During COVID-19 Crisis. Let’s work together amid COVID-19 to keep our communities safe. http://ow.ly/djKG50z2rnY
  • Transit will continue to be free for riders throughout April. The reduced hours of service will also continue, with the buses running on the "Saturday" schedule Monday-Saturday.
  • Our Fire Chief has confirmed and clarified for us that there is currently NO fire ban for the Town of Penetanguishene (April 3, 2020). Currently, we are waiving the requirement for fire permits, but if you plan to have a small fire, be sure to follow our By-law restrictions http://ow.ly/2f5k50z4olB
  • All meetings, programming and events are suspended until further notice.  The Seniors Information Day and Bayside Summer Soiree throughout the month of June have officially been cancelled. 
  • We have extended the deadline for feedback on our Community Improvement Plan.   Check out this workbook to provide your thoughts and ideas. You can get it to us by dropping it off at Townhall, mail, or email.
  • Council approved some short-term financial relief measures for penalties and interest related to property tax and utilities.
  • We are awaiting guidance and decisions from the province in relation to the potential closure of the municipal boat launch and wharf.  Any closure information will be provided as necessary.
  • Our Staff and Council are available through our contact page on our website.  Although our offices are closed, we continue every effort to respond to our community’s questions and concerns. 

Visit www.penetanguishene.ca or call 705-549-7453 for more information.  

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March 30, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.

Transit Alert – Please be advised that beginning tomorrow (March 31) Mid-Pen Transit will be reducing hours of operation for at least the remainder of this week. The new operating schedule will be the same as the normal Saturday schedule. (first run at 8:45 a.m. for Midland South, last at 4:45 p.m., first run at 8:30 a.m. for Penetanguishene, last at 4:30 p.m.) For more details visit: http://bit.ly/ToM-COVID-19

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March 24, 2020 4:30 p.m.

As we are sure most of our community is already aware, Premier Doug Ford announced yesterday that all non-essential businesses will be shut down for a period of 14 days (minimum) starting today (March 24, 2020) at 11:59pm.  What does this mean for our Town of Penetanguishene services?   It means that all of our offices and facilities remain closed with staff now working remotely, but we will continue to offer essential services through our usual or alternative means as described below.

No matter what happens, rest assured, the Town of Penetanguishene will continue to provide essential services like Fire and Rescue, Police, Roads Maintenance, Transit, Water and Wastewater.

Instead of listing all of the services offered and whether or not we are continuing, we felt it would be more effective to communicate to you the services we are continuing to offer and the way we are offering them.  If you do not see a service listed here, it is to be presumed that it is not considered essential and will not be offered over the next two weeks minimum or until further notice. If you are uncertain, please contact our office by phone 705-549-7453 or email and staff will respond as soon as possible.

Please know that this decision was not made lightly; however, we are confident that a remote work protocol is the best way to ensure that staff and the community remain healthy and in a position to continue providing the essential services that our residents rely on.

Municipal Service           

Impact

Action

Fire & Emergency

The Fire Hall remains closed to the public and administrative staff will be further reduced.

Fire and emergency services will remain functional for response and request for fire inspections will be reviewed on an individual basis; however, access to the fire stations remain closed to the public.   We are temporally suspending the need for a fire permit for open air burning.  All other conditions of the open air burning by-law are still enforceable and in effect. The Fire Department can be contacted by email.

 

The Emergency Management Control group will continue to meet twice weekly to monitor the COVID-19 situation.

Municipal Administration

Townhall remains closed to the public.

The municipal office phone will allow for voice messages to be received which will be picked up daily and relayed to the appropriate department.   All Staff and Council continue to be available by email through our contact listing on our website.

Council meetings will be held electronically and we are researching options for public participation.  Meetings with links to agendas and minutes are listed on our website.  

Council will be meeting (electronically) in the coming weeks to discuss any and all opportunities for us to help at a municipal level regarding property tax and utility billing. 

For inquiries related to your pre-authorized payments, please contact the Tax Collector/Utility Accounting Clerk by email.

Public Works

Public Works building remains closed to the public.

Public Works services will remain functional.  Public Works office phone will allow for voice messages to be received which will be picked up daily and relayed to the appropriate department.  As always, for Roads, Water or Wastewater emergencies call: 705-527-8210. 

Recreation & Parks

Parks – Parks remain open however all park amenities such as play structures, courts and the dog park will be closed.

 

Programming – All recreational programming has been cancelled until further notice. 

Signage will be posted at applicable amenities advising of closures to encourage social distancing.   

 

Refunds will be issued for all Spring Programming (including swimming). 

Building Department

Building permit applications will be processed and mandatory building permit inspections can be coordinated by appointment with certain conditions.  We request that arrangements be made for inspections 48 hours in advance.

The Building Department can be contacted by email for more information. 

Permits and Licensing

Burial permits and Taxi Licences (both drivers and vehicles) will be processed as needed through alternative methods.

The Town Clerk can be contacted by email for information.

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March 23, 2020 - 9:00 a.m. 

The Mid-Pen Transit Service has now resumed it's normal service and will be free for all riders until further notice.

Not all Mid-Pen Transit Service buses have two doors, but riders are asked to please board and de-board using the rear entrance of the transit buses, when it's an option. This will help ensure more social distancing with our transit drivers. Riders with disabilities may still use the front door if needed.

The Town would also like to continue to stress the importance that all residents who have returned from travelling follow the self-isolation protocol for 14 days. Whether you are a snowbird or a spring breaker, regardless of your age you must follow this protocol to ensure that the virus doesn't spread throughout our community. Even if you have no symptoms, you can still pass the virus along to someone. If you've arrived home from travel and need groceries, call a friend or family member to drop some things off. We are in this together and we all need to work as a team! ?

For more information on the state of COVID-19 in our area, please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website at simcoemuskokahealth.org.?

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March 19, 2020 - 2:30 p.m. 

A message from the Town of Midland regarding Transit operations (which include the Penetanguishene Transit Bus)

“Please note that Mid-Pen Transit Service will be temporarily shut down. An employee working out of our Operations Centre reported that they have been in contact with someone (not a Town employee) who was directed to self isolate today, though it’s important to note that neither person has tested positive for COVID-19. Since the buses are stored at the Operations Centre, steps are being taken to disinfect them. Operations staff will not be reporting to the Ops Centre until Monday as further precaution. Transit is expected to resume on Monday Morning as scheduled.” - Town of Midland.

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March 17, 2020 - 4:30 p.m.

Status of the Municipal Administration Offices: Closed to the public

The Town of Penetanguishene holds the health and safety of our residents, visitors and staff as a top priority. To protect our stakeholders, all Town of Penetanguishene facilities are closed to the public until further notice as a precaution to help against the spread of COVID-19. This includes Townhall (10 Robert Street West – drop box available), the Public Works complex (22 & 24 Centennial Drive) and our Fire Hall (2 Robillard Drive). The Municipal facilities remain staffed on a reduced schedule and will continue with the provision of reduced municipal services through alternate means until further notice.

Where to find more information: 

Additional information about COVID-19 is available online at:  

Public Health 
(www.publichealthontario.ca)  

Government of Canada
(www.canada.ca/coronavirus)  

Government of Ontario
(www.ontario.ca/coronavirus)  

World Health Organization
(www.who.int/coronavirus

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
(www.smdhu.org/coronavirus

If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact the office via telephone at (705) 549-7453. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.  For any Roads, Water and Wastewater After Hours Emergencies please call: 705-527-8210

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March 13, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

UPDATE: The Town of Penetanguishene is taking precautions to help protect our vulnerable residents. Following a meeting of the Senior Management Team the Town has made the difficult decision to cancel all programming and close some facilities, effective Friday, March 13 at 5:00 pm. The closures and cancellations will remain in effect until further notice. 

This is a fluid situation and the Town will continue to communicate with our residents and visitors regarding COVID-19.  Please continue to visit our Town website at www.penetanguishene.ca.  If you would like to recieve email updates directly in your inbox sign up here: https://www.penetanguishene.ca/en/news/subscribe.aspx?feedId=332cb99c-6528-48f3-98c1-4393b13712a8

Refunds will be issued to all program and rental registrants and will NOT be charged the admin fee.  Programs already underway will be issued a PRO RATED refund.  Refund Cheques will be sent through Canada Post.

Spring Programming – Further correspondence will be sent to program registrations through contact information provided during the registration process.  

Town staff are ensuring increased sanitizing practices on all common touch points and public spaces at all Town facilities. Public education focusing on hand washing and cough etiquette has been increased in high traffic locations and residents who do not feel well are being reminded to stay home.

We continue to encourage those with any of the identified symptoms to contact our office at 705-549-7453 for our staff to assist with any town services you may require.

For County of Simcoe related communications related to COVID-19, visit: https://www.simcoe.ca/CorporateCommunications/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx 

For public health related resources, visit http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/ or call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520

For up-to-date information and resources pertaining to COVID-19, please regularly check the Ontario webpage:  https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

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March 13, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. 

In light of the COVID-19 preparations, we wanted to communicate to our residents and visitors to let you know that we are continuing to monitor the status of COVID-19.  The federal government has warned the situation could quickly change, therefore this Public Notice webpage / email subscription will be updated as required.

You will see when visiting any of our Town facilities that we have posted information (poster attached) on the entry door encouraging those with any of the identified symptoms to not enter and to contact our office at 705-549-7453 for our staff to assist with any town services you may require.

We are staying in constant communication with our staff and partners on this and will be updating on our website and social media channels as required related to any impacted Town services.

For County of Simcoe related communications related to COVID-19, visit: https://www.simcoe.ca/CorporateCommunications/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx 

For public health related resources, visit http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/

For up-to-date information and resources pertaining to COVID-19, please regularly check the Ontario webpage:  https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus