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COVID-19 and Municipalities

For general information and resources on COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 section of our website.

Declaration of an Emergency

This is NOT an indication of the spread of illness in these areas. Instead, it allows them to pro-actively respond to the pandemic. The formal declaration provides municipalities with additional powers and tools to protect the health and safety of local residents. It often streamlines the decision-making process so they can act as quickly as possible when they need to. Declaring an emergency also helps to emphasize the seriousness of the pandemic for residents.

Quarantine Act or Emergency Measure Protection Act

The following violations can result in a charge under the Quarantine Act or Emergency

  • Offences relating to non-essential businesses that remain open (by-law or local police)
  • Offences relating to organized public event and social gatherings of more than 50 people indoors or more than 100 people outdoors
  • Violation of the mandatory 14 day isolation if returning to Canada (police)

Violations of the Quarantine Act for those who have returned to Canada can be reported to your local police service.

  • OPP: 1-888-310-1122
  • Brockville Police Service: 613-342-0127
  • Smiths Falls Police Service: 613-283-0357
  • Gananoque Police Service: 613-382-4422

If you have a complaint regarding safe distancing practices of a business that is open – call the Health Unit and a Public Health Inspector will follow up: 1-800-660-5853 extension 2308.

Even though public health directions of physical distancing, frequent hand washing and limiting travel are essential to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – you cannot report someone for not abiding by these directions. This is a stressful time for everyone. Practicing kindness and working to manage our own actions is essential.

As of July 7, 2020 at 12:01am, businesses/organizations in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark are required to adopt a policy to ensure facial coverings/masks are worn inside enclosed public spaces/settings that are openly accessible to the public. To access an enclosed public space, individuals must wear a facial covering/mask (some exceptions apply). Please refer to our Face Coverings/Masks webpage for detailed information. Use this poster in your premises to advise the public of face covering/mask requirements

Use our COVID-19 & Activities: Know the Risks poster for help on deciding what activities are right for you.

Parks and other outdoor spaces are important for maintaining and improving physical, mental, and social well-being. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these spaces were closed for public use. Now that more parks and outdoor spaces are opening, there are important considerations municipalities must take to help protect the health of their staff and residents.

  • Abide by Emergency Provincial orders (e.g., closures of certain outdoor recreational amenities, restrictions on public and private gatherings, etc.).
  • Be aware of what amenities, services, and businesses can reopen in each stage of the Province of Ontario’s Re-opening Ontario strategy.
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play structures are permitted to re-open. Physical distancing of at least 2 metres/6 feet must be in place at all playgrounds and play structures, except between individuals from the same household or social circle.
  • Follow best practice guidance from the Government of Ontario, Government of Canada, and your local Public Health Unit.
  • Share with your residents what activities are currently permitted on public and private property (e.g., hiking on trails, golf, tennis, dog parks, community gardens, splash pads, pools, etc.).
  • Community gardens are allowed to be open. Note the two sets of guidelines: Safe Operating Requirements for Community Gardens for landowners and garden coordinators and Public Health Guidelines for All Community Gardeners.
  • Ensure farmers’ markets on municipal land are aware of Health Unit guidelines.
  • Educate residents on how they can reduce their risks while engaging in permitted activities.
    • Post signage in parks and recreation areas reminding users of these facilities about measures they can take to protect themselves and others. (e.g., Protect Yourself and Those Around You Poster, Physical Distancing Sign).
    • Encourage residents, when outdoors in public, to have a cloth face covering/mask with them so they can put it on when they are potentially in close contact with other people. NOTE: As of July 7, 2020 at 12:01am, businesses/organizations in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark are required to adopt a policy to ensure facial coverings/masks are worn inside enclosed public spaces/settings that are openly accessible to the public. To access an enclosed public space, individuals must wear a facial covering/mask (some exceptions apply). Please refer to our Face Coverings/Masks webpage for detailed information.
    • Keep all information up-to-date on your website and social media.
    • Refer to the Physical Activity section on our Coping, Helping and Mental Wellness webpage.
  • As public bathrooms open, follow our guidance on cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms and our Frequently Asked Question and Answers document.
  • Consider providing hand wash stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers, especially if public bathrooms have been closed.
  • For local information on who to call if you have a concern or complaint see the COVID-19 Response Chart.
  • Maximize distance and minimize interaction between park users. Increase available pedestrian and cycling space to encourage people to spread out.
    • Consider temporarily converting some spaces (e.g., parking lots) to pedestrian space.
    • Consider creating temporary “health corridors” along busy streets where physical distancing may become difficult. Corridors can be created by placing pylons or installing temporary bollards to block off a lane of traffic or on-street parking spots. Refer to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) guidance document on Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery for more ideas.
  • As you open up your parks and other outdoor spaces for greater use, refer to the Government of Ontario’s sector-specific guidelines and Health Canada’s risk mitigation tool for guidance on reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Visit our COVID-19 & Businesses webpage for information for employers, employees, and members of the public accessing businesses/organizations.

Refer to the Information for Businesses Re-opening section on our COVID-19 & Businesses webpage for more information and guidance on opening and operating a summer day camp during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refer to the Information for Businesses Re-opening section on our COVID-19 & Businesses webpage for more information and guidance on opening and operating pools, splash pads, and wading pools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refer to our Health Equity and COVID-19 webpage for more information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has added to existing health inequities in our communities and how municipalities can help improve these inequities.

With recent amendments to the Liquor Licence Act, some municipalities may be looking to strengthen, update, or establish Municipal Alcohol Policies and by-laws that support and protect health and reduce the harms associated with alcohol. Reach out to your Municipal Public Health Nurse Liaison for guidance in developing a comprehensive, local policy that can help to strengthen and support provincial regulations.

To help protect our communities from COVID-19, many of us are spending more time outside. Community members have been waiting in outdoor lines, visiting with family and friends outdoors while keeping their distance, and keeping active on local trails and active transportation networks.

While residents are spending more time outside to help limit the spread of COVID-19, local governments can provide residents with greater protection from second hand smoke and vapour than the minimum standards set by the Smoke Free Ontario Act (2017).

The legalization and subsequent inclusion of cannabis and e-cigarettes and vaping under the SFOA 2017 presents an opportunity for municipalities to open and expand No Smoking by-laws.

Local Tobacco Enforcement Officers and your Municipal Public Health Nurse Liaison can provide support as you strengthen your smoke and vapour free policies. Find additional resources on our Alcohol, Cannabis & Drugs webpage.

Please refer to our Emergency Cooling Centres webpage for information on operating an Emergency Cooling Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please refer to the Return to Recreation Facilities section of our Business Re-opening webpage for information on rules applying to these types of facilities during Stage 3.

Consider following the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates and information.