Almost 24 hours ago, the Government of Ontario announced a series of new restrictions on public gatherings, as well as capacity limits and new closures. On Monday night, the City of Guelph announced how they’re responding; which facilities are closing, which programs are cancelled, and what will be left for the so-called time-limited pause in the provincial re-opening?
First, the Sleeman Centre, River Run Centre and Guelph Museums are all closed as of Tuesday. The City’s indoor rec centres will also be closed, but skating in Market Square will be allowed to continue with COVID safety measures like masking and social distance. Meanwhile, all branches of the Guelph Public Library will remain open at 50 per cent capacity, with the exception being the branch in the West End Community Centre.
If you use the Wellington County Library system, they announced on December 21 that they were shifting to curbside pick-up only for an indefinite period of time.
All winter registered programs that the City was planning to hold from now until February 6 are cancelled. Drop-ins and rentals are also cancelled until further notice. Staff will reach out to everyone with either a proposed new start date or the offer of a refund.
The Guelph Farmers’ Market will be open again this Saturday, but at 50 per cent capacity.
Guelph Transit OnYourWay cards can still be purchased at library branches and authorized retailers, and if you need to reload them in-person, you can still do that at City Hall, the Guelph Transit admin office on Watson Road, or one of those authorized retailers mentioned above, which, as you may recall, will be open at 50 per cent capacity starting Wednesday.
“As we start a new year, it’s safe to say that we had hoped COVID-19 would be behind us,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie in a statement. “However, over the past few weeks Omicron has gotten ahead of us. It’s time for us all to once again do our part to slow the spread and keep doing what you’re doing: get vaccinated, get booster shots, follow the new regulations, and do everything you can to continue to support local businesses.
“And finally, let’s pull together and show our support for Guelph’s frontline workers who have tirelessly cared for us throughout these past two years,” Guthrie added.
In terms of the effect on local schools, the Upper Grand District School Board confirmed that online learning will commence on Wednesday. Teachers will be reaching out to their classes and making sure the students have all the tech that they they need on Wednesday, and then formal instruction will begin on Thursday.
In-person learning will be paused until at least January 17, and Upper Grand staff say that the will be doing everything possible in that time to ensure a safe return whenever schools re-open.
“During the time of remote learning, we want to highly encourage families to continue to follow all current health and safety guidelines, as the board continues to enhance the layers of protective measures in place in our schools,” said Director of Education Peter Sovran.
“Our schools will be receiving additional PPE for staff, upgraded masks for students, and staff will continue to optimize school ventilation including through the procurement of additional HEPA filter units,” added Board Chair Linda Busuttil.
The Wellington Catholic District School Board also confirmed that they’re returning to online classes on Wednesday. Of course, before the break the University of Guelph had announced a delayed return to in-person learning; classes will commence online starting January 10, and presently students are being encouraged to wait until January 24 before returning to campus.
On Monday, Guelph Transit posted on social media that while campus is closed, they will not be running the university express routes (aka: the buses numbered in the 50s that run to and from the University Centre).