The City of Guelph has announced that the closures of all City facilities will continue until the end of April. Although the original intention was that some facilities like City Hall, rec centres and the library were going to re-open on April 6, they will now remain closed till May. In-person council meetings will also be cancelled for the time being.
“Things are still changing every day and based on the latest information from the province about essential services and recommended closures, we’re extending the closure of our facilities and cancelling April events, including the Clean and Green garbage pickup,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie in a statement.
Originally, only the Sleeman Centre, River Run Centre, and the Evergreen Seniors Centre were going to remain closed until April 30, but now every building owned by the City will remain closed until May.
Along with those closures comes the cancellation of the events that were supposed to take place in those facilities, and that includes the slate of April’s city council meetings.
Committee of the Whole, the planning meeting, the regular council meeting, and two special council sessions that had been planned for April 8 and 15 are now cancelled, although council approved changes to the Procedural Bylaw at Monday’s emergency meeting to allow for future meetings to move forward during the provincial state or emergency.
“I have also decided to cancel the regularly scheduled Council and planning meetings for the month of April,” Guthrie added. “Any further emergency meetings of council will be considered on an ongoing basis.”
If you booked a rental at a City of Guelph facility, or paid to take part in a program during April, you will be able to get a refund, and the City is in the process of returning those payments now.
“While we’re taking this day-by-day, we know that this situation is not going to clear itself up by April 6 when we had hoped to reopen facilities,” added Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart. “Should things improve sooner than expected we’d look to re-open our facilities, but for now we’re playing it safe to protect our community and our employees.”
In other closure news, the City of Guelph has decided to end public waste drop-off until further notice, while commercial drop-off will proceed as usual every weekday from 7 am to 4:30 pm.
“We know everyone’s getting restless and you’re spending time cleaning up around your home and yard,” said Stewart. “We’re asking you to please stay home. We’ve seen an increase in traffic to our waste drop off and in order to help everyone maintain a safe physical distance of two metres, we’re suspending this service.”
Until public drop-off is re-instituted, the City recommends leaving mulch leaves and grass on your lawn and holding on to it until spring yard waste pick-up, which is still scheduled for May. They’re also recommending you store large items, if possible, or use commercial pick-up, and store household hazardous waste in a leak-proof box in the garage or basement. You can also store any cardboard waste until public drop-off re-opens, or you can tear it up into smaller pieces so that it can fit into your blue cart.
As Guelph makes adjustments to its schedules and closures, the Region of Waterloo declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
“Declaring a State of Emergency provides the Heads of Council the authority to take actions or make orders to protect the inhabitants of the municipality and increases the ability of municipalities to share resources, personnel and equipment to respond and support the broader public sector and key services,” the Region said in a media release. “It also allows the Region to use and support volunteers to assist with providing critical services if needed.”
The Region of Waterloo has seen a big jump in the number of cases of COVID-19 it’s dealing with in the last 48 hours. The total number of cases in the Region sits at 36 confirmed cases, with an additional 22 cases that presumed to be positive.