City of Regina introduces payment deferral measures for utilities, property tax

The City of Regina introduced a number of changes on Friday, designed to help residents dealing with COVID-19 and trying to reduce the spread of the virus.

City also changes transit schedule, waives fares and introduces new health protocols

The City of Regina introduced a number of changes to aide those affected by COVID-19, and to try and prevent the spread of the virus. (Kevin O'Connor/CBC)

A number of new measures were introduced at the municipal level to help those affected by COVID-19. 

The Utility Deferral Program was approved by council on Friday. It will allow residents and businesses to defer utility payments for up to six months with no late payment charges or interest. 

Payment collection on overdue utility and property tax accounts will be suspended and water service will not be shut off for residents who have outstanding account balances, or who are unable to pay. 

The city asks that residents and businesses contact the city to discuss a payment plan that will allow the financial flexibility they need.

"The health and well-being of our community is of foremost concern," mayor Michael Fougere said in a news release. 

"That includes having added peace of mind that residents will have the essential services they need and that we will face these challenging times together."

Transit changes introduced

The city is now asking bus users to enter and exit the vehicles from the rear door in an effort to practice social distancing between passengers and drivers. 

As a result the fare boxes will be taken out of service and fares will be waived. Transit pass and ticket sales are suspended. 

Regina Transit is introducing a number of new measures to promote social distancing. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

A city news release said increased cleaning measures will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The transit schedule is also changing. Buses are now operating on the Saturday schedule during weekdays, which means they will be operating on a 30 minute schedule during peak periods. 

"Route 40 Albert Express and 60 Arcola Express will continue to run on weekdays," the release said. "Service on Saturdays will run on a Sunday service schedule. Sunday and holidays will remain at the same service level."

Between March 13 and March 20, transit ridership declined 60 per cent according to the city.

Regina Transit passengers are asked to observe the following best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • If the bus is empty, distance yourself from other passengers.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze using the inside of your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home if you feel sick.