News Release - March 24, 2020
N E W S R E L E A S E
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2020
TOWN OF INNISFIL DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY, MAYOR URGES RESIDENTS TO STAY AT HOME
Innisfil, ON – Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin has declared a state of emergency for the Town of Innisfil in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I thank those who are heeding the Ministry of Health’s advice, we have noticed that too many people just aren’t understanding the gravity of this threat,” Dollin explains. “Declaring a state of emergency is our way of sending the strongest possible message to our community to stay home.”
This declaration comes on the heels of the Provincial announcement that all non-essential businesses must close tonight, and as cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in both Barrie and Bradford West Gwillimbury. The decision was made after receiving advice from Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and in conjunction with Innisfil Town Council and the Town’s emergency control group, with representatives from South Simcoe Police, Innisfil Fire & Rescue and senior Town staff.
“By declaring a state of emergency, we are using all tools available to us to help protect our citizens,” says Dollin. “Innisfil is situated between two municipalities with confirmed cases. It’s only a matter of time before there are cases of COVID-19 in Innisfil too. We are ensuring that our community has access to the tools and resources it needs, including enhanced Innisfil Transit, delivery service, and small business support.”
The Town of Innisfil took the first steps in reducing the risk of transmission over a week ago, by closing libraries and arenas and enacting policies and procedures for business continuity. Although the Town as an organization has made this transition fairly seamlessly, reports continue to come in that groups of people are still finding places to congregate. “This is the appropriate next step to take as we work diligently to protect public health in Innisfil,” explains Mayor Dollin.
While the declaration places the Town of Innisfil in a position to make decisions more quickly, Town Council is confident that good governance will continue as the first digital meeting gets underway tomorrow night through live streaming at 6:30 pm. On Monday, the Town piloted the same technology with an all-staff meeting, which worked very well to connect everyone across the various facilities and homes. Essential services including Fire & Rescue, South Simcoe Police and Water and Wastewater services will continue as normal. All staff who have been working remotely will continue to do so. Currently, the Town remains open for business albeit virtually.
“Declaring a state of emergency is not meant to cause panic. Please don’t rush out to the grocery store and hoard supplies,” Mayor Dollin urges. “But do look at your actions. Do you need to leave the house? If it’s not urgent, the answer is no. Stay home, stay safe, and please do your part to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Lives literally depend on your help.”
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