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Town restricts service for individuals travelling from COVID-19 hotspots

October 22, 2020   ·   0 Comments

New Tecumseth’s recreation centres, fitness areas and arenas have been open to anyone since early August, but Town staff are now restricting access for anyone coming from COVID-19 hotspots such as York Region or Peel.

In addition to those two regions, Toronto and Ottawa recently reverted back to a modified Stage 2 reopening due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, raising concerns locally.

“I don’t think we’d see any people from Ottawa but we are seeing a number of people coming up from York Region and Peel Region to use our facilities,” said Town CAO Blaine Parkin at Monday night’s Council meeting.

He noted that the Town generally likes to see as many people using their facilities as possible but right now they want to ensure that their own residents can access them safely.

“I think it’s a bit of a strange time to think we continue to limit free travel but the reality is, I don’t think we want to do anything to encourage people coming from areas where there’s a high concentration of COVID-19,” Ward 3 Councillor Paul Foster said.

Individuals from Essa, Adjala-Tosorontio and other neighbouring municipalities that remain in a Stage 3 opening will be able to continue to access the Town’s fitness facilities and programs.

“We will continue with our booking system for eligible individuals wishing to participate in drop-in activities, fitness class or ice activity, as spots must be reserved in advance either online or in-person with customer service,” noted Parkin.

“The primary reason for this is to ensure class and facility numbers but also to ensure contact tracing is being captured, if anything unfortunate develops.”

Ice rink opportunities available to residents include public skating and shinny. Basketball, pickle ball, badminton and the walking track are available as well.

Municipal services and operations are seeing anywhere between a handful of people up to a maximum of 40, getting dog licenses, parking permits. garbage tags and garbage bins, with residents making appointments.

“We continue to encourage residents to use technology and online options wherever possible,” said Parkin.

Meanwhile, local municipal law enforcement continues to work closely with the Nottawasaga OPP on COVID-19 related provisions, requirements and inquiries.

“Our bylaw team is working hard to ensure our residents in the community are educated and informed on what they should and should not be doing as far as gathering sizes and things like that,” Parkin noted.

“Obviously this has been a very different kind of time for them but they are continuing to work diligently and our priority remains educating people over enforcement, although if enforcement is required, our team is working with OPP to do that.”

Looking ahead to winter, bylaw officers will resume regular parking enforcement between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. each night from November 15 to April 15.

“This is in addition to our five-hour parking restriction that remains in effect at all times,” said Parkin.

Some sad news for the municipality is the cancellation of the Toys for Tickets campaign. This is the first time in 12 years it’s not been able to go forward.

While New Tecumseth has seen a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases, the Simcoe Manor outbreak and individuals having close contact with active cases has created over 50 active infections as of press time.

“It’s unfortunate although not unexpected that as we remain in Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plan we’re seeing an unfortunate rise in positive COVID-19 cases across our area as well as the Province,” said Parkin.

“New Tecumseth is as strong community and we will work together to get through this unprecedented time one step at a time with each and every one of us doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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