Hamilton preparing for 'new reality' as city edges closer to reopening more services
City to introduce document next week with list of what services will reopen during Ontario's phased approach
The city of Hamilton is planning for a "new reality" as it maps out the staged the reopening of city services during the COVID-19 pandemic while Ontario progresses through its phased approach to easing restrictions..
Paul Johnson, director of the city's emergency operations centre, said on Wednesday that he will introduce a document next week on May 27 with a list of what services will reopen during the second and third phases of recovery.
While there won't be any dates attached to when the services opened, Johnson said it will allow for people to gauge when various parts of the city will open as the province loosens COVID-19 restrictions.
"This is a slow and steady movement towards, not what life was like in January and February, but what we're calling the 'new reality,' " Johnson said during the virtual town hall meeting.
"The reality is that services will remain in some modified form for a long time … there's a whole bunch of hope and pent up energy that things will just go back to the way it was and our message will be that is a long time coming and in certain cases we are unclear about when that will come."
Johnson said they will also need to have larger discussions at later dates about how to reconfigure services related to long-term care, childcare and homelessness.
Starting this week, the nets at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a> tennis courts 🎾are being installed!👏<a href="https://twitter.com/cityofhamilton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cityofhamilton</a> crews are expected to be complete within the next 7-10 days with all tennis courts open by the end of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/May?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#May</a>. This is part of implementing the Province’s Stage 1 reopenings. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a> <a href="https://t.co/l4Yuus97s2">pic.twitter.com/l4Yuus97s2</a>—@HamiltonsMayor
In the meantime, some tennis courts and the city-run King's Forest Golf Club opened on Wednesday. The Chedoke Golf Club will open in the coming days along with more tennis courts and some basketball courts.
Johnson explained games like tennis and pickleball already incorporate social distancing in their design. Meanwhile, basketball courts won't be featuring team games but rather, spaces for people to shoot some hoops.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger added that starting on Monday leaf and yard waste collection will resume its regular weekly schedule.
While things are reopening as the virus' infection rate slows, Eisenberger warned the city won't feel normal for quite some time.
"Prepare for a different kind of summer, not the ones we've enjoyed in the past and not the ones we want to continue to enjoy in the future, but one that is likely to happen this summer which is going to be radically different from the ones previously," he said.
Eisenberger added there will be an "active discussion" about the kind of assistance Hamilton will need to recover from the financial crater COVID-19 has left in the city budget to avoid leaving taxpayers to foot the entire $22.8 million bill.
COVID-19 has infected 602 people in Hamilton, which is three more than Tuesday. Of the 602, 595 are confirmed and seven are probable cases. The virus has hospitalized 129 people, 70 of whom are still in hospital. Three more people have died from the virus, bringing the total number of victims to 30. But 397 have recovered.
Just 10 people have COVID-19 in Brant and four are in hospital. The virus has killed three, but 93 have survived.
Brant also has no active institutional outbreaks,
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reporting 207 cases of COVID-19, an increase of one since Tuesday. The virus has killed 31 but 87 have recovered. Twenty-seven of those deaths were at Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.
Halton is reporting no new cases of the virus. The total number of infections is 661 cases (587 confirmed, 74 probable), the exact same numbers as Tuesday. Twenty-five people have died and 491 have recovered.
In Burlington, there are 130 cases (114 confirmed, 16 probable). Seven people have died and 94 have recovered.
One resident at the Brant Centre long-term care home has COVID-19, and two residents at the Creek Way Village long-term care home.
Niagara has seen five new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing to the total to 620. Of those, 458 people have recovered and 58 have died. There are 104 active cases right now.
The outbreak in Niagara Health's St. Catharines intensive care unit has ended.
There are still outbreaks at Albright Manor in Lincoln, Kilean Lodge in Grimsby, West Park Health Centre in St. Catharines, Tufford Nursing Home in St. Catharines, Crescent Park Lodge in Fort Erie, Niagara Health's Greater Niagara site, Royal Rose Place in Welland and Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls.