NIAGARA FALLS, ON - The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, has declared a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).
Effective today, the government has issued a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
The government has enacted the following additional public health measures:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance more than two metres.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
New enforcement measures
Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the province has provided authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce. Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA.
In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house.
Measures pertaining to City Facilities and their Impacts on Service (if applicable)
City facilities will continue to be closed to the public until further notice. This includes:
- City Hall - 4310 Queen Street
- Any building and development plans can be dropped in a designated box at the front door.
- Any payments can be made by cheque through the City Hall drop box.
- Gale Centre - 5152 Thorold Stone Road (including the walking track)
- MacBain Community Centre - 7150 Montrose Road (including the walking track)
- Niagara Falls History Museum - 5810 Ferry Street
- Wayne Thomson Building - 4343 Morrison Street
- Niagara Falls Transit/WEGO Building - 8208 Heartland Forest Road
- This is in addition to the following City facilities that have been closed since March 16, 2020, and will remain closed until further notice - Coronation 50 Plus Recreation Centre - 5925 Summer Street, and Chippawa Willoughby Arena - 9000 Sodom Road
While city facilities are closed to the public, City of Niagara Falls staff will remain available to assist and serve citizens online and over the phone. Phones will continue to be answered between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM Monday to Friday (905-356-7521), holidays excluded, and online services will remain available at www.niagarafalls.ca . For after-hours water or sewer emergencies, individuals should contact our Service Centre directly at 905-356-1355.
- Virtual Council meetings will continue.
- The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 2PM.
- During normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM) for concerns around enforcement of COVID-19 emergency orders, contact By-Law Enforcement Division at 905-356-7521 Ext. 4253 or 4341 or by email at [email protected]
- After 4:30 pm, COVID-19 concerns should be directed to the Region of Niagara's information line at (905) 984-3690 or 1 (877) 552-5579 for further bylaw response and assistance.
- Parking enforcement will continue, with a priority being ensuring safe winter control operations.
Municipal Works Programs and Services Updates
- Any Water Meter Installation Program bookings and installations will be rescheduled.
- WRAP and Drainage Inspections will be postponed
- Sewer Cleaning and Rodding will take place on an emergency response basis only by Municipal Works. Non-emergency responses will be postponed.
- Water Meter Repairs will take place on an emergency response basis. Non-emergency responses will be postponed.
- Capital Projects construction will be proceeding as planned, including Station 7 and The Exchange Culture Hub.
Niagara Falls Transit
To maintain transit service in the community while taking steps to protect the health and safety of our riders and drivers:
- Essential travel trips only.
- Mandatory masks onboard under Regional bylaw.
- Effective January 18th, Niagara Falls Transit will be implementing Sunday and Holiday level City service, with service ending at 9pm to accommodate essential workers trips home from places of work.
- WEGO service - cancellation of the Blue Line and WINTER service on Red Line, 7 days a week
Special additional transit route for access to pandemic-related community services (potential vaccination sites), Project Share and local shelters.
- Go to https://niagarafalls.ca/living/transit/bus-routes.aspx for detailed route information.
Outdoor Recreational Amenities
All outdoor recreational amenities including playgrounds, trails, tobogganing, skating rinks, Oakes Park track, select tennis and basketball courts etc. will remain open, weather permitting, to allow individuals and families to continue to enjoy time outdoors safely in their neighbourhood:
- Any person who uses an outdoor amenity must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from another person using the amenity (excluding members of the same household).
- Outdoor social gatherings are restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions.
- Wearing a face mask is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
- No organized game play is allowed.
Planning & Development
- Development, zoning and Committee of Adjustment applications will still be received as they can be processed and reviewed remotely. Planning studies will continue.
- Any building and development plans can be dropped in a designated box at the front door.
- Residential construction projects can continue where,
- a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi detached and townhomes
- the project is a condominium, mixed use or other residential building, or
- the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before January 12, 2021.
- No disconnection of water services will take place during the Stay-at-Home order.
- The penalty on taxes has been reduced to 0.5% for January, February and March 2021.
Religious, wedding and funeral services:
Wedding services, funeral services and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained and in compliance with rules on face coverings:
- Indoors: 10 capacity (not counting funeral staff)
- Outside: 10 people (not counting funeral staff)
Extreme Cold Weather Relief
- Warming Centres during Extreme Cold Weather events will continue at the Gale Centre (5152 Thorold Stone Road) and the Niagara Falls Public Library (Victoria Avenue branch – 4848 Victoria Avenue) with a maximum capacity of five persons.
Shower facilities will be available for vulnerable populations at Gale Centre on set times and days, and during extreme weather events.
For details see https://niagarafalls.ca/living/severe-weather/extreme-cold-relief.aspx
Niagara Falls Public Library
- The Library will provide the following contactless services in line with the Provincial restrictions: curbside pick-up, holds pick-up, print pick-up, Visiting Library service delivery, and virtual programs.
- All items will continue to be quarantined upon their return.
- For information visit https://my.nflibrary.ca/About/Status
Vaccine Rollout Preparedness
- The City of Niagara Falls is ready to support vaccine rollout and have offered City facilities as needed.
- Sites identified for mass immunization include:
- MacBain Community Centre
- Scotiabank Convention Centre
The City of Niagara Falls continues to thank residents for their continued cooperation, patience and understanding during these unprecedented circumstances.
For more information on the Provincial Declaration of Emergency and the public health measures and restrictions that are in place visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca.
For more information, contact:
Jim Boutilier, Fire Chief
City of Niagara Falls