Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Thursday June 11 COVID-19 emergency
Today, in recognition of how far our community has come in the COVID-19 pandemic, I repealed the the town’s Physical Distancing By-law 2020-055.

As we move forward with recovery, I want to stress that the virus needs people to spread. As such, I encourage you to follow my three Cs of COVID-19 caution: avoid crowds, confined spaces, and circulation.

Also, follow public health guidelines to stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands frequently, continue to practice two-metre physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is not possible, and to follow all provincial emergency orders such as limiting gathering to less than 10 people.

Oakville residents have done an exceptional job in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We adopted this by-law at the height of the pandemic and it did its job. We all know now how important physical distancing is to keep ourselves and our families safe, and that is a far better incentive to practice physical distancing than a ticket.

Repealing the by-law will also eliminate confusion on whether the by-law would impact efforts to support local economic recovery by allowing more outdoor dining patios and display areas in commercial districts.

While Halton Region and Oakville have not yet been approved to move into Phase 2 of recovery which would allow for outside dining, we want to be ready and provide clarity to businesses on the rules that will be in place when this does happen.

The town’s by-law enforcement officers will still be responding to complaints about violations of the provincial emergency orders on social gatherings. As a reminder, as of Friday morning, groups of up to 10 people may gather in public spaces but physical distancing must still be maintained. To report a violation, please call ServiceOakville at 905-845-6601 and a by-law enforcement officer will be dispatched to follow up.

For another look at how far we've come in this pandemic, please scroll to the end of this email for an updated timeline.
Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • 200 doctors want mandatory mask wearing
  • TTC to make masks mandatory
  • Stage 2 reopening discussed on CHCH Morning Live
  • Town of Oakville announcements
  • ServiceOakville counter reopening
  • Summer students returning to cut grass
  • Provincial Government announcements
  • Ontario to resume family visits in long-term care, retirement homes and other residential care
  • Ontario introduced public transit safety guidance
  • Ontario appoints new Patient Ombudsman
  • Ontario and Canada helping small businesses go digital
  • Can I go to my cottage this week?
  • Ontario child care centres can reopen Friday
  • Hamilton daycares won't open for at least another week seeking clarification
  • Federal Government announcements
  • Canada to host virtual Ottawa Group meeting
  • Overhaul coming to Canadian immigration process
  • Ottawa commits to helping Quebec care homes until September
  • Anthony Fauci warns coronavirus pandemic far from over
  • U.S. now has more than 2 million reported COVID cases
  • South Korea's coronavirus success story threatened by surge of new infections
  • U.S. manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccine to begin testing
  • Russians race to develop vaccine by fall
  • In other COVID-related news
  • Customers face wide range of COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Do I have to go back to work as COVID-19 lockdowns end?
  • How coronavirus will change your next dentist appointment
  • Is Ontario ready for double bubbles?
  • Ottawa's COVID-19 jobless benefit is about to end for millions. Then what?
  • Cottage country gears up for flood of visitors from COVID hotspots
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COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton increased by 7 from 684 to 691 with 1 new confirmed case in Oakville, from 226 to 227.
 
There were 3 reported recoveries in Oakville, from 222 to 225 and 6 recoveries in Halton Region from 640 to 646 .

Oakville's community transmission rate holds at 31 per cent as pictured below.
As of noon Thursday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting 33,177 confirmed or positive COVID-19 cases, including 2,532 deaths, as the daily rate of new COVID-19 infections has fallen to levels not seen since March.

The 238 new cases reported since the same time Wednesday morning continues a slowing trend across the province and even in the hard-hit GTA. 

Both the Premier and Health Minister's COVID tests came back with negative results.

As of 11:10 a.m. ET on Thursday, there were 97,472 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 57,144 of those cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 8,044.
Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
COVID-19 deaths per million
200 doctors want mandatory mask-wearing
Ontario physicians are calling on the government to adopt an aggressive mask strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19.

TTC to make masks mandatory for most passengers starting July 2
Mayor John Tory confirms TTC CEO Rick Leary and medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa are recommending wearing face masks on the TTC. Tory says this is a “significant step forward” in containing the virus and making sure people feel safe on transit.

Tory says the TTC will distribute 1 million non-medical masks, with a focus on low-income neighbourhoods.

TTC CEO Rick Leary says mask rule won’t apply to children under two and people with medical conditions. “Nobody will be refused to ride on the TTC” for not wearing a face covering, he says. Employees who work behind a physical shield or in areas not accessible to the public are also exempt. He estimates that 50 to 60 per cent of TTC riders are already wearing masks.
Oakville and Halton
CHCH Morning Live
In my weekly CHCH Morning Live appearance I discussed Oakville being left out of Stage 2 regional reopening and what Halton's Mayors and Regional Chair did about it.

Click the image to read the transcript or watch now
Town of Oakville announcements
ServiceOakville counter reopening

The ServiceOakville front counter will be open ed to the public by appointment on Monday, June 15. The public will be able to access Town Hall for in-person services currently being offered, which are issuing marriage licences and having Committee of Adjustment applications commissioned.

As in-person ServiceOakville services reopen, we continue to encourage the community to use online services as much as possible.
 
Summer students returning to cut grass

Summer students are returning on Monday, June 15 to support parks grass cutting efforts. With the students returning we should be back to near normal levels (8-10 days) within three or four weeks depending on the amount of rain we get. 
Ontario
Provincial Government announcements
Ontario to resume family visits in long-term care, retirement homes, and other residential care
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings. 

Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18, 2020. Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.

Visits will resume next Thursday, one week after the release of visitor guidelines. They will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.

Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:
  • Homes must not be in outbreak;
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

For retirement homes, visitor admissions will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.

Other residential care settings will also be allowed visitors under similar rules. These residential care settings include homes serving people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence, and children's residential settings.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Ontario, the direction on visits at long-term care homes, retirement homes and residential settings will continually be updated keeping the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and staff at the forefront.

Visits have been restricted since mid-March, with only essential visitors permitted to enter long-term care and retirement homes.
Ontario introduces public transit safety guidance
Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation, released comprehensive safety guidance for public transit agencies as the province reopens and more people return to work. This guidance, developed in consultation with health and transit officials, provides transit agencies with the information they need to help protect employees and passengers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance document provides transit agencies with best practices and tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distance between people whenever possible, highly recommending that passengers wear face coverings or non-medical masks when taking transit, practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, installing physical barriers between drivers and passengers, using physical markers between seats and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, has identified over 40 actions to help keep staff and passengers safe when riding GO trains, GO buses and the UP Express. These strategies include:
  • Piloting health and safety kiosks that provide customers with tools and advice on how to stay safe.
  • Enhanced deep-cleaning processes for vehicles and in stations.
  • Providing hand sanitizer on every GO bus and in every station, so passengers can apply during their trip.
  • Installing dividers for safety on GO trains and buses.
Ontario appoints new Patient Ombudsman
The Ontario government has appointed Cathy Fooks as Ontario's new Patient Ombudsman to help improve the quality of care and supports people receive in hospitals, long-term care homes and in their own homes through home and community care.

The Patient Ombudsman provides support for Ontarians who have voiced concerns about their health care experience. The Ombudsman also investigates unresolved complaints about public hospitals, long-term care homes and home and community care, and makes recommendations to the government to prevent the recurrence of similar issues.

In this role, Ms. Fooks will also oversee an investigation into the care and health care experiences of long-term care home residents during COVID-19. This work will complement the government's independent commission into Ontario's long-term care system which will begin in July 2020.  
Ontario and Canada helping small businesses go digital
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

The new program was unveiled today by Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, joined by Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Through the $57-million contribution to the  Digital Main Street  platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.  

About 60 percent of Ontario's small enterprises have a website, and only seven percent have an online payment solution. Digitally, Canadian businesses are estimated to be two years behind their U.S. counterparts.

In response, the Ontario government is providing significant support to small business. Along with the  Digital Main Street  platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses. In addition, the province has proposed a ban on commercial evictions to help businesses that have been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.
Canada
Federal Government announcements
Canada to host virtual Ottawa Group meeting on World Trade Organization reform and COVID-19
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that Canada will host the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Ottawa Group on World Trade Organization Reform on June 15, 2020.

As the world faces the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, countries are working together to find ways to keep people safe while supporting businesses, workers, and their families.

The virtual meeting of the Ottawa Group will build on the progress made by Canada and like-minded countries over the past few months, ensuring trade stays open and predictable to give people stability at this uncertain time.

Ministers from the 13 Ottawa Group countries will discuss how the WTO and the rules-based trading system can help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, lay the groundwork for a sustainable recovery, and adapt trade rules to prepare for future crises.

The ministers will discuss key priorities, including greater transparency around export restrictions, ways to ensure the smooth flow of goods and services to benefit their countries’ people, and helping businesses and workers adapt to an increasingly digital economy.

The Ottawa Group will continue to engage small businesses as it develops concrete plans to address the global economic recovery and ongoing WTO reform efforts.
Overhaul coming to Canadian immigration process
 A complete overhaul of how Canada processes immigration applications is in the works as the federal government braces for a post-COVID-19 surge in demand for migration to Canada.

The federal Immigration Department says the “new normal” that will emerge after the pandemic requires a revamp of the technology used to handle millions of applications a year.
It says new strategies for managing those applications are also needed to limit the amount of in-person contact within the bureaucracy and between officials and potential newcomers.

The department included its plan in an “urgent request” issued late last month for a company to help with that project.
Ottawa commits to helping Quebec care homes until September
The military mission in care homes in Quebec was set to end on Friday, but the province has asked the federal government to extend the stay of the armed forces in CHSLDs until the fall.

International news
Anthony Fauci warns that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over
The U.S.’s leading infectious disease expert told biotech executives that COVID-19 has surprised him with the speed with which it “just took over the planet."

Click the image to read the full story
U.S. now has more than 2 million reported cases of novel virus, Johns Hopkins reports
More than two million people in the United States have contracted the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S., which has seen the most cases of any country in the world, has also seen the most loss of life attributed to the virus, with  almost 113,000 deaths  reported by the Baltimore-based university.
South Korea’s coronavirus success story threatened by surge of new infections
Health workers are struggling to track transmissions that are spreading quickly and unpredictably as people increase their activities and practice less social distancing.

United States’ manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccine to begin testing 
The first experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. is on track to begin a huge study next month to prove if it really can fend off the coronavirus, its manufacturer announced Thursday — a long-awaited step in the global vaccine race.

The vaccine, developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will be tested in 30,000 volunteers — some given the real shot and some a dummy shot.
Moderna said it already has made enough doses for the pivotal late-stage testing. Still needed before those injections begin: results of how the shot has fared in smaller, earlier-stage studies.

But Moderna’s announcement suggests those studies are making enough progress for the company and the NIH to get ready to move ahead.

Moderna launched its vaccine test in mid-March with an initial 45 volunteers. The company said it has finished enrolling 300 younger adults in its second stage of testing, and has begun studying how older adults react to the vaccine. These initial studies check for side effects and how well people’s immune systems respond to different doses. But only the still-to-come huge trial can show if the vaccine works.

Worldwide, about a dozen COVID-19 potential vaccines are in early stages of testing. The NIH expects to help several additional shots move into those final, large-scale studies this summer, including one made by Oxford University.
Russians race to develop vaccine by fall
Russia’s top scientists are racing to answer a daunting demand from President Vladimir Putin: develop a coronavirus vaccine by the fall.

To meet the deadline, Russia has employed the armed forces, shortened trial approval times and sped up clinical evaluations in its quest to win a vaccine race that could provide economic and political leverage to the victor. The result is a country whose government — after initially wavering over whether to impose lockdowns against the spread of the virus—is now rushing to inoculate its population first.

Only the U.S., China and Canada have more vaccine candidates in their pipelines than Russia, which has 10 candidates, according to the World Health Organization. Putin has insisted that the first one be registered by September, a timeline public-health experts say is extremely short and could pose health risks if a vaccine’s potential side effects aren’t studied extensively.

For Moscow, the stakes are especially high. Only the U.S. and Brazil have more confirmed cases than Russia, which has reported more than 6,000 deaths and around half a million infections, according to official statistics.
The country’s economy has been pummelled first by low oil prices and then weekslong coronavirus shutdowns. In the midst of this, Mr. Putin is facing a popular referendum on July 1 on constitutional changes that would allow him to maintain his grip on power until 2036.
In other COVID-related news:
From oxygen-level checks to no masks — customers face wide range of COVID-19 safety protocols
The range of policies being implemented by Canadian businesses to keep staff and customers free of the coronavirus are all over the map, and companies say given that personal expectations regarding safety vary greatly, it's impossible to please everyone as the economy reopens.
Do I have to go back to work as COVID-19 lockdowns end? A lawyer explains
How the coronavirus will change your next dentist appointment
Is Ontario ready for double bubbles?
Ottawa’s COVID-19 jobless benefit is about to end for millions of Canadians. Then what?
Cottage country gears up for flood of visitors from COVID hotspots. Here’s what you need to know
Upcoming events:
Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton virtual Town Hall
Next Wednesday, June 17 from 7 to 8 p.m., join the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) for a conversation with community members and leaders to learn about steps being taken to ensure that a focus on human rights, equity, diversity and inclusion remains a cornerstone of emerging policies, programs and practices.

This Zoom Virtual Town Hall will be followed by a preview of Legacy Voices: Caribbean and Black Seniors Share & Document Stories and Life Experiences, a film that will be shared on Monday, August 3, Emancipation Day.

Register for the complementary virtual Town Hall here
Sunset Cinema @ Home: June 19

Stay home, stay healthy, and support Oakville Hospital healthcare heroes! Join  the Oakville Hospital Foundation  for Sunset Cinema @ Home, the perfect summer movie night on Friday, June 19 at 7pm.

Walk to end ALS
The virtual edition of the Walk to End ALS event will take place June 21. ALS partner, Brain Canada, is offering a dollar for dollar match of up to $1 million to invest in promising ALS research.

What's on at the OPL
Oakville Public Library is now offering contactless holds pickups and the ability to return borrowed library materials at select locations. Details at opl.on.ca

Branches: Glen Abbey – Iroquois Ridge - Woodside

Library Take-out and materials return will be available from 11:30-7 on Tuesday and Thursday and 9:30-5 on Saturday.

The materials return process follows the same after-hours process as pre-COVID19.
Library Take-Out holds pick-up process:

Customers can place holds as usual from www.opl.ca , or
  • a.by calling one of the open branches during open hours
                                              i.    GA - (905) 815-2039)
                                            ii.    IR - (905) 338-4247
                                           iii.    WS - (905) 815-2036

Once their hold is available, customers will be contacted either by email or phone to select a pick-up slot. Each time slot is 30 minutes and has limited spots available.

On their selected date/time, customers can arrive at their indicated branch and pick-up their hold(s) from the vestibule.

Customers enjoy their new materials
 
Tuesdays & Thursdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on Instagram Live
Get moving with stories, songs and fun during Family Storytime! Hosted virtually on Instagram Live. Follow @oakvillelibrary on Instagram .

Tuesdays & Thursdays • 2 pm
Kids Library Club
Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays as we explore fun activities in the fields of science, technology, art and more! Tuesday's session will be Book Club and Thursday is Hour of Code . Limited spaces.

Friday, June 12 • 10 am
Virtual Crafty Bees Meetup with The Hive
An informal, weekly craft meetup to share what you’re working on, and gather inspiration from fellow craft enthusiasts.
Join us on  Zoom  (Meeting ID: 936 5905 6875, Password: 756445) or call 1-647 374 4685. 

Fridays and Saturdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on YouTube 
Follow OPL on YouTube and enjoy pre-recorded Family Storytime on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 am. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube page so you don't miss out!

Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Staff Book Recommendations on YouTube
Listen to over 100 short book reviews from OPL staff, uploaded weekly on YouTube .

Daily
Virtual Tech Help
Book a virtual one-on-one session for basic technology assistance. Limited sessions.
Food Banks experiencing record demand
Oakville's food banks are in record-breaking demand. If you can donate anything, please do. Your help is needed.

Fareshare Food Bank Oakville: 905-847-3988 or email  oakvillefoodbank@gmail.com

Kerr Street Mission: 905-845-7485 or donate online at kerrstreet.com

The Salvation Army Oakville: Donate online https://salvationarmy.ca/
Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate under increased safety measures. I f you know or are aware of someone who is struggling, call 211 and get help to navigate the network of health, community and social service programs. This service is offered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has interpretation for over 150 languages. And, if you are able, please consider supporting the Meals on Wheels effort by making a donation.

Downtown Oakville Instagram live series
On Wednesday, May 6 Downtown Oakville will be launching a weekly Instagram Live Series hosted by different Downtown businesses. The live events will allow you to purchase products, participate in fitness classes, attend workshops, and more!

Follow @oakvilledowntown on Instagram to learn more and tune in. 

Schedule 
June 17 at 2 p.m. - Must Boutique 
June 24 at 7 p.m. - Dr. Adrienne, Naturopathic Doctor 
Testing in Oakville
Call the COVID-19 hotline
For the duration of the pandemic, if a member of the public wishes to report an incident of non-compliance with the emergency orders, they may contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722

It is critical that our residents use 911 for emergencies only.
Coronavirus timeline