General News

Shelburne mayor responds to COVID-19, municipality announces multiple closures

March 19, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By MIKE BAKER

Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills has announced the Town is closing all municipal facilities until further notice in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Shelburne Town Hall, the Shelburne Police Station, Shelburne Fire Hall, local library and Centre Dufferin Recreation Centre will be closed for at least the next two weeks as the municipality attempts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in our community. 

Mayor Mills met with Shelburne Police Chief Kent Moore and Shelburne Fire Chief Brad Lemaich on Monday afternoon (March 16) to discuss various measures municipal leaders could, potentially, implement to maintain the safety of local residents and ensure the continuity of essential municipal operations.

During that meeting, Mayor Mills recalls, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced the Dufferin-Caledon region has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. 

“While not entirely unexpected, the news is still unsettling and certainly reinforces the need to take strong and sensible action,” Mayor Mills said. “In some respects, we are lucky that we can learn from the experiences of other countries who have already been impacted by COVID-19 on a large scale. One of the lessons we can take away is that the spread of this virus can be greatly slowed if governments at all levels act early, aggressively and intelligently.”

Effective as of 4:30 p.m. on Monday (March 16), Shelburne Town Hall is completely closed to the public. If someone has a critical need to personally attend the facility, staff will be permitting pre-scheduled appointments on a case-by-case basis following a pre-screening protocol. 

In his release to media, Mayor Mills notes that all municipal services are available online at www.shelburne.ca, and staff will be available by phone at 519-925-2608. 

The local police station will be closed to the public for all non-essential and non-emergency visits. Those with a genuine emergency are asked to call 911, while non-emergency calls and inquiries are to be directed to 519-925-2600. 

All Shelburne council and committee meetings, public consultations and presentations will be cancelled until at least April 20, with the Shelburne Public Library closed until April 6. No materials will be due back during this period, although the facility’s drop box will remain available for returns. No fines will be imposed during this period of closure. 

Mayor Mills noted the CDRC will be closed until further notice, with all programs and pre-booked events and/or rentals cancelled.

Importantly during this time of need, Shepherd’s Cupboard Food Bank will remain open this week. Clients are being asked to take a number and wait outside for a hamper to be delivered to them. Volunteers are taking appropriate precautions and will not be allowed to help if they are ill or have recently travelled outside of the country.

In addition to these public actions, Mayor Mills is “strongly urging” local residents to adopt several personal measures in an attempt to prevent the spread of the ultra-contagious virus.

Chief amongst those, he says, is limiting all non-essential social interaction.

“When you do have to interact (for) employment, medical appointments, food shopping etc. please try to maintain reasonable distances and avoid any unnecessary physical contact, such as handshakes and hugs,” Mayor Mills said.

As has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), any individual who has travelled outside of Canada is asked to self-isolate and monitor their condition for 14 days. 

The best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to keep up with general hygiene practices. Regularly washing hands with soap and hot water, avoiding touch your face, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and cleaning and disinfecting regularly handled objects, such as phones and door knobs, is recommended. 

Reacting to some of the hoarding we have seen in our community over the past week, Mayor Mills said he hopes to see the community rise above such selfish behaviour moving forward. 

“Ensure that your family has an adequate supply of food and toiletries, but please do not engage in panic buying, or hoarding,” Mayor Mills said. “We are assured that supply chains of all essential items remain intact, but retailers are experiencing difficulties in maintaining stock due to many people buying more than they need or can use. Please be considerate.”

Mayor Mills spoke of “flattening the curve” of COVID-19, noting the measures the municipality has taken will hopefully lower the risk of the virus spreading across Dufferin County and prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

“Myself, your Council and staff understand that the actions we are taking and recommending may create significant challenges and inconveniences, but now is the time to pull together as a community and make collective efforts to reduce the risks for everyone,” Mayor Mills said. “We will almost certainly face some difficult and trying times in the days and weeks ahead, but we will get through this by working together and looking out for each other.”

He concluded, “Our community is strong and I am confident that we will emerge from this challenge even stronger.”



         

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