On June 13, 2022, with the support and advice of Emergency Operations staff, Mayor Hoogenboom sent notice to the Province of Ontario terminating the municipal emergency declaration that was first declared on March 25, 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Local impacts of COVID-19 on municipal operations have precipitously declined over the last 12 months. The emergency declaration remained in place primarily to permit Council to continue to meet and conduct the business of the Township remotely. The Township’s current facility in Chantry is not large enough to provide for adequate social distancing in the Chamber.
Public viewing and participation in Council and Committee meetings will continue on an electronic basis until otherwise determined by Council given the limited public galley space.
Masking in Township facilities has been on a voluntary basis for a number of months, consistent with provincial direction. Employees, visitors and facility users are encouraged, but not required, to continue self-screen before entering a Township facility or participating in a Township event.
Public access to Chantry to gain services and consult with staff remains open, as it has for the most part of the last 2 years. A dedicated public consultation area at the north end of the building will continue to be used. It will likely be the primary model adopted moving forward. It has been found to increase resident privacy, reduce security risks and be a more efficient use of space.
Mayor Hoogenboom, upon ending the declared emergency, remarked “I am very pleased we have weathered COVID-19 as a community and corporation with a balanced approach, marked by resilience, patience, and strength. Undoubtedly there were dark times, as individuals and as a community. We were handed an unprecedented situation. As a community, we now move forward with a better appreciation of the power of collective action and what we can accomplish, even under the most trying of circumstances.”
The Township, through Council and the Emergency Management Committee, will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments as the world continues its trajectory from a pandemic to endemic state.