Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Friday, May 8 COVID-19 emergency
Yesterday we announced the re-opening of parkland greenspace as of tomorrow, Saturday, May 9. To clarify, this does not mean you can use sports fields, playgrounds or dog parks, and parking lots at Town facilities also remain closed. We're also asking that you stay local. Please don't use greenspace that isn't within walking distance as that can cause them to become over capacity, making it difficult to manage and maintain physical distancing. To borrow a phrase from my Mayoral colleague in Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, "stay local, stay apart".

When you're making use of the open greenspace this weekend, remember the rules. Do not congregate in groups of more than five people and anyone not residing together should maintain a six-foot distance. This means organized sports should not be played, even if not on a sports field. Enforcement officers will be out with the primary objective of educating the public, particularly as the rules begin changing, but if they ask you to move on please do the right thing and don't risk being ticketed.

We need to ensure we remain diligent as we're rewarded for all the effort we've put into fighting coronavirus so far. So far, Oakville has the lowest death rate per million, please see the chart below. But today, Ontario reported the highest case increases in a week and if that continues we risk moving backwards rather than forwards in our quest to re-open.

To keep you motived, please scroll to the end of this email to see where we've come in the COVID-19 pandemic and where we are headed in the coming days and weeks.
Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • Project Pandemic: Reporting on COVID-19 in Canada
  • Compare Canada’s curve to other key nations’
  • Experts weigh in on possible new strain of coronavirus
  • Deaths per million around the globe and close to home
  • Letter highlights gaps in programs, asks for changes
  • Calls related to intimate partner violence on the rise
  • COVID job loss causes steepest monthly decline ever
  • Ontario supports job creators
  • Finance Minister describes 'difficult economy'
  • Public health officials call for pause on cottage visits
  • PM, Premiers discuss continued efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19
  • Bring your own mask
  • A look at how Denmark has handled COVID-19 and more
  • How not to 'fog up' when wearing glasses and a mask
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Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton have increased by  cases from 506 cases yesterday to  508  with  more confirmed case in Oakville, from 171 to  172 . There were also  recoveries in Oakville from 145 to  147 . That leaves just 25 active cases in Oakville.

Oakville's community transmission is also just 28 per cent, that's 14 per cent below Halton in general as pictured here.

Ontario public health units are reporting a 2.3 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, or 459 cases, to a total of 20,546. According to the tally, 44 more have died for a total of 1,596.

In Canada, 65,399 cases of COVID-19 have been reported with 4,471 deaths. More than 29,000 of 45 per cent of cases have recovered.

Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
Project Pandemic: Reporting on COVID-19 in Canada
Project Pandemic is a collaborative mapping effort mobilizing journalists across the country. It’s led by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Montreal’s Concordia University and employs reporters from journalism schools across Canada along with traditional news media organizations such as CTV News. The goal is to collect data about the coronavirus pandemic and to use mapping and other analysis tools to allow a clearer picture of where the COVID-19 disease has spread and to analyze the impact on Canadians.

Compare Canada’s curve to other key nations’
Use this interactive chart to compare Canada’s COVID curve to other nations’.

Experts weigh in on possible new strain of coronavirus
Scientists are cautioning that it’s still too early to know how the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) mutates, after a preliminary study in the U.S. claimed that a new strain of the virus has emerged that is more dominant and contagious than the original.

Deaths per millions around the globe and close to home
Letter highlights gaps in program, asks for changes
Today I, on behalf of my Oakville Economic Task Force, sent a letter to the federal and provincial ministers of finance and MPPs congratulating them on their collaboration and ability to listen to the needs of Canadians and businesses with the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.

Our task force has received feedback from local businesses who have identified gaps in the existing program, including: many landlords declining to apply for the program and others facing the onerous process of having to apply for each commercial unit they own. As well as many tenants who are facing evictions are unable to benefit from the program or even qualify for it.

As such, we've offered suggestions for changes to Canada’s Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses:
1. Suspend evictions of commercial tenants for a minimum of six months
2. Allow tenants to make an application for the rent assistance if the property owner does not want to apply or is ineligible
3. Allow property owners to make one application for all of their properties rather than individual applications
4. Lower the 70 per cent revenue decline threshold for tenants

Calls related to intimate partner violence on the rise
The Halton Regional Police Service is urging residents to remain vigilant in reporting suspected intimate partner violence. Victims are isolated inside their homes with their abusers, making it increasingly difficult for them to seek help.

Your call can help.

In recent weeks, investigators have observed an increase in the number of intimate partner violence related calls, where multiple assaults with escalating violence spanning the course of weeks, are being reported. This has led to an increase in charges laid.

In April 2020, officers responded to 303 calls related to intimate partner violence, made 67 arrests and laid 163 charges. Compared to April 2019, this is nearly a 19 per cent increase in calls, a 15 per cent increase in arrests, and an 81 per cent increase in the number of charges laid related to intimate partner violence. Of concern, is that it is widely recognized that intimate partner violence often goes unreported to police.

The HRPS is urging victims or friends/family of victims to contact the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Women's Place or other community resources if intimate partner violence is happening.

Shelters across Halton  are still open at this time  and Halton Women's Place continues to offer services. Shelters have taken precautions related to COVID-19 to ensure that no one is forced to choose between their safety and their health.  Help is available.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

You are not alone. Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence:

  • Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
  • Halton Women's Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
  • Halton Children's Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
  • Nina's Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
  • Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)
Ontario
COVID job loss causes steepest monthly decline ever
The Canadian economy shed almost two million jobs in the month of April in addition to the one million jobs lost in March, putting the unemployment rate at 13 per cent. The job losses over the past two months have set the record for the steepest monthly decline ever.

In addition to the job losses, 2.5 million people lost half of their usual working hours due to COVID-19 and the closure of non-essential businesses.

However, the economic data was not as bad as initially feared. It was estimated that there would be four million jobs losses and that the unemployment rate would reach 18 per cent. The rise in unemployment in Canada, which is a 5.2 per cent increase, is also smaller than that of the United States which saw a 10.3 per cent increase in employment in April.

The job losses this month expanded outside of the service sector and hit manufacturing and construction sectors which lost 16 and 21 per cent of the jobs respectively. Quebec was the hardest hit province losing 778,000 jobs in a month and the jobless rate rising to 17 per cent. Ontario followed with its unemployment rate hitting 11.6 per cent and 959,000 jobs lost.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program would continue past its early June endpoint. The program covers 75 per cent of worker pay up to $847 a week to help employers keep employees on the payroll and is designed to help jumpstart the economy.

More details regarding the extension of the program are expected next week.

Ontario supports job creators
As people gradually begin returning to work, the Ontario government continues preparing for the next phase of restarting the provincial economy through the implementation of its  Framework for Reopening our Province

In order to make life easier for businesses faced with the unique challenges created by the global outbreak, the Ontario government has launched the  COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers  online portal. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those struggling to operate in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks and suggest possible solutions through the website.

Finance Minister describes 'difficult economy'
In an exclusive interview with 680 news, Finance Minister Rod Phillips describes a dismal economy and explains that top up pay will be for health care workers and those in the long-term care and retirement sector.

Public health officials call for pause on cottage season
Despite the OK from Premier Doug Ford yesterday, Canada’s public health officials are asking for cottagers to put a pause on the season for now.

Canada:
PM, Premiers discuss continued efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19
Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with premiers to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation.

The leaders talked about coordinated actions being taken by federal, provincial, and territorial partners to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and to support workers and businesses.

First Ministers discussed efforts to ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for workers, and steps they are taking to gradually restart the economy, as guided by the principles, criteria, and measures identified in their joint statement on April 28.

Bring your own mask
Air travellers are required to wear non-medical face masks while flying. They’re also responsible for bringing their own masks. According to the Government of Canada, flyers will be denied boarding without a mask.

International:
A look at how Denmark has handled COVID-19 and more
New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof was in Denmark, working on a story about the ‘socialist’ country and what the United States could learn from it when coronavirus hit. The result is a story about how the country fared in its battle against the deadly disease and still, what the country could learn from it.

Click the photo to read
Helpful hints
How not to 'fog up' when wearing glasses and a mask
Do what health care workers do before you head out to the grocery store and you won’t have to worry about foggy glasses while wearing a mask.

1. Always wash your hands with soap and water first
Remember,  scrub for 20 seconds  (two rounds of "Happy Birthday") before you rinse.

2. Wet your glasses, then lather some soap on the lenses
There's no time limit for lens scrubbing, so be gentle and thorough.

3. Rinse your glasses under warm water
Don't leave any soap suds on your lens -- if the fog didn't obstruct your vision, bubbles certainly will. They're not fun to rinse out of your eyes, either.

4. Gently dry your glasses with a clean towel or lens cloth
Avoid using a towel   that may scratch your delicate lenses.

Enjoy your clear specs, and go on your way!
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
May 13 at 7 p.m. - Hot Yoga and Pilates 
May 20 at 7 p.m. - Fred Astaire Dance Studio 
May 27 at 7 p.m. - Downtown Oakville Live Auction 
June 3 at 2 p.m. - Lakeshore Yoga 
June 10 at 1 p.m. - Makers Mojo 
June 17 at 2 p.m. - Must Boutique 
June 24 at 7 p.m. - Dr. Adrienne, Naturopathic Doctor 
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