The following is a statement drafted by Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy:
To the citizens of Owen Sound and area,
I wish to update you on behalf of the Council and staff of the City of Owen Sound with regard to COVID-19.
These are unprecedented times for all of us. Our lives have been turned upside down in less than two weeks with changes almost daily. The spread of COVID-19 and the health of our citizens is of utmost importance. We recognize the seriousness of this issue.
All things considered, our community is doing a good job so far of minimizing the spread of COVID-19. The number of known cases in Grey and Bruce remains low for now, but we expect that to increase in the coming days. For a highly social, caring community, the challenges will become more difficult. We all need to increase our efforts. We have to keep listening to our health experts and follow their recommendations.
The City has taken steps to prepare for emergencies like this. We have an Emergency Response Plan in place, which is reviewed annually. We do exercises to prepare us for a variety of emergency situations and we have a Pandemic Plan as an appendix to the Emergency Response Plan. City staff meet every morning to stay on top of the quickly changing news and advice, guided by the Emergency Response Plan and the Pandemic Plan.
The City has closed facilities and playgrounds, and have suspended non-essential services. We are currently maintaining transit service for those who rely on it. All buses are carefully disinfected. Most City staff are working remotely from home. We have suspended some fees and extended payment deadlines to help ease the financial stress on our citizens. Most importantly, City staff continue to focus on providing the essential services we all depend on – water, waste water, police, fire, and garbage and recycling collection.
COVID-19 is a medical emergency that doesn’t respect municipal boundaries, and all of Grey County is covered by the Provincial Declaration of Emergency. The City is working closely with County staff, which manage the regional ambulance and paramedic services. We will continue to rely upon the expert advice provided by the Grey Bruce Health Unit. Together, we will make decisions in the best interests of our community at the appropriate time, based on the advice we receive from the experts.
We encourage everyone to stay disciplined and do what the health experts are advising. Wash your hands carefully and often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Stay at home as much as possible. Get outside daily for some exercise but no matter where you are, keep two metres apart to reduce exposure to other people. If you have been out of the country, exposed to anyone ill, or feel ill, please immediately self isolate. For more information, go to www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca
Finally, I want to thank all of the City and regional staff, frontline emergency workers, and all members of the Owen Sound and Grey-Bruce Community for your efforts. Please keep it up. Help friends, family or neighbours with essential errands. Phone to check up on them. Take care of each other. We're all in this together!