Amherstburg Council has voted to close to the public all municipal facilities, including Town Hall, and restrict public access to meetings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Council voted to take these precautionary measures during a special meeting of Council Monday night.
The Libro Centre was closed on the weekend and recreational programming cancelled in response to the virus that has seen governments of all levels take unprecedented action to promote public health.
Council also voted Monday night to adopt a new Infectious Disease Prevention Policy and a new Work at Home in the Event of an Emergency Policy. Council also approved a revised Emergency Response Plan and revised our Procedural By-Law to allow for the electronic participation during a Pandemic of councillors who may be required to self-isolate.
It was a surreal scene at Town Hall Monday night. Green painter’s tape was affixed to walls and the floor in Council Chambers, indicating where councillors and staff could sit so there was at least one metre of space between individuals. There were only about a dozen or so chairs set out for the public and press and each was placed inside a small square marked by green tape on the floor.
Councillors and members of the public were asked to arrive one hour before the meeting so they could be screened, or asked a series of questions, by firefighters wearing protective masks.
When the day began, federal and provincial health authorities were urging people not to congregate in groups of more than 250 people. That number had been reduced to 50 before the day was through. The White House urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
As afternoon turned to evening in Windsor-Essex, the local health unit said it was in "full support" of "recommendations" made by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health that all restaurants close except for take-out and delivery services. On Tuesday morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a State of Emergency until March 31 and made those recommendations mandatory.
I voted in favour of these precautionary measures with one key goal: Stopping or slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, which is particularly vulnerable given our large population of seniors. By practicing social distancing and avoiding large groups, it is hoped we can slow the spread of the virus so that our healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
Our meetings will still be streamed live to the web at this link: https://video.isilive.ca/amherstburg/live.html. The media can still attend.
Residents who want issues addressed can email me or phone me at 519-981-4875.
Below are some links to official sites and to some official Twitter accounts.