WELLINGTON COUNTY – Local municipalities, which had already scaled back operations under Ontario’s red COVID-19 alert level, will close down tighter in response to the province-wide lockdown set to begin on Boxing Day.
The provincial restrictions, announced on Dec. 21 by Premier Doug Ford, will be similar to those imposed in March, with indoor social gatherings prohibited and only those businesses deemed essential allowed to stay open.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece stated in a Dec. 22 press release the decision was “extremely difficult” for Ford, but one the premier made to save lives.
Pettapiece noted cases and outbreaks in the region are on the rise and people from the hardest-hit areas of the province are “shopping and dining in our communities.”
“To make this shutdown work, and to keep it as short as possible, we all need to do our part,” stated Pettapiece.
“We need to stay home, except to go to work, medical appointments, buy groceries, or other essential reasons.”
As they announced local closures, municipal officials from across the county encouraged residents to dine and shop local (online if possible) to support area businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The County of Wellington’s administration centre in Guelph was already closed and public participation in council and committee meetings restricted to joining Zoom or teleconference calls.
Communications manager Andrea Ravensdale said the museum and archives in Aboyne will be closed to the public during the lockdown.
“Libraries were already only doing curbside pick-up,” noted Ravensdale in a Dec. 22 email
An update from CAO Scott Wilson, issued following a staff advisory committee meeting later that day, added:
- Wellington Terrace employees are subject to their existing protocols and are unaffected by the shutdown’s terms;
- all county facilities will remain available to county staff, adhering to strict “active screening” methods and protocols; and
- all other county services will continue on their current basis.
Wilson stated changes to will take effect starting Dec. 26 and last until until Jan. 23.
The update notes county staff that are able, may work from home with the approval of their department head.
“During the next four weeks it is expected that all county staff will follow all public health guidelines respecting physical distancing, wearing a mask, regular hand washing and social gathering restrictions,” Wilson stated.
All Centre Wellington facilities currently open to the public, notably the Fergus sportsplex and the Elora Community Centre, will close at 3pm on Dec. 24 until Jan. 25.
Township staff will assist residents by electronic means only. Phones will be answered on weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm.
Most staff will not be available from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4, but “community services staff” will be available – on Dec. 27 from 11:30am to 4pm and Dec. 28 to 31 from 8:30am to 4:30pm – at 519-846-9691 ext. 903.
General email inquiries can be made by calling 519-846-9691 or emailing email@example.com.
All township rentals will be paused but municipal parks, playgrounds, trails, dog parks and other outdoor amenities remain open. Outdoor rinks will operate with social distancing protocols in effect.
Outdoor washroom facilities at the Elora Tourism Information Centre, Bissell Park, the Weigh Scale building and Forfar Park will be available from 10am to 4pm.
Township officials suggest those looking for something to do at home can visit Connect CW for information.
For general information and updates visit the township website or its social media pages.
Town of Erin officials have announced that all municipal facilities, including town hall and recreational facilities, will be closed at 8:30am on Dec. 26 until Jan. 25.
All recreation drop-in programs, services and rentals are cancelled at the Erin Community Centre, Hillsburgh Community Centre and Ballinafad Community Centre.
Staff will be in contact with all facility rental holders to cancel, re-schedule or refund the bookings.
Town council and staff will still be working, and they can be reached at 519-855-4407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit the town website or visit its social media pages.
The Guelph-Eramosa municipal office in Brucedale is closed to the public until further notice.
Officials say “a minimal amount of staff” is available to assist residents via phone and email, but “there will be no staff-public interactions.”
Outdoor rinks will be operating when the ice freezes, with limits of 10 skaters while COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are in effect (at least until Jan. 23).
The Royal Distributing Athletic Centre in Marden will be closed from 1pm on Dec. 24 until Jan. 23.
For more information visit the township’s website or Facebook page.
Mapleton Township will continue its policy – introduced a month ago – of not accepting bookings for municipal halls.
All existing bookings until Jan. 23 are cancelled due to the lockdown.
The municipal office outside Drayton is closed to the public. It is operating with limited staff and offering appointment-only visits. To book an appointment call 519-638-3313.
The PMD Arena will be closed until Jan. 24.
Township officials say updates will be posted on the township website or on its social media accounts.
The Town of Minto is closing all municipal buildings to the public as of Dec. 24 at 5pm.
All town arenas and the Norgan Theatre in Palmerston will be closed until Jan. 24.
Minto residents needing assistance can call the town office at 519-338-2511 but officials are encouraging electronic communication.
The municipal office is operating with limited staff – by appointment only – but will be closed from noon on Dec. 24 to Jan. 4.
LaunchIt Minto is closing until Jan. 24, but officials say the town’s economic development department and Minto Chamber of Commerce “are here to support our local businesses through this challenging time.”
Business and economic manager Belinda Wick-Graham can be reached at email@example.com and business development coordinator Somer Antonopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit the town website or its social media accounts.
The Puslinch Township office will remain closed to the public, with staff working remotely.
Municipal services will continue to be provided online and via phone at 519-763-1226 or email@example.com.
The “virtual” office will be closed from Dec. 24 at 12pm to Jan. 4 at 9am.
To reach the after-hours emergency service for a township road- or facility-related emergency, call 519-763-1226 ext. 6.
The Puslinch Community Centre and the Optimist Recreation Centre (ORC) gymnasium remain closed.
Skating will be available at the outdoor ORC rink, starting Boxing Day, from 10am to 5pm – except for Jan. 1, when the rink is closed.
The ORC rink will be limited to Puslinch residents only, with a maximum of 10 skaters at once.
All Puslinch parks, playgrounds, trails, and outdoor amenities remain open.
Any changes/updates will be communicated and posted to the Township’s website.
Effective Dec. 26, all Wellington North recreation facilities will be closed at least until Jan. 23.
That includes the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex, Arthur and Area Community Centre, fire halls in Arthur and Mount Forest, Damascus Hall and the Arthur Seniors Hall.
Officials say township staff is processing cancellations and refunds should be issued by the end of January.
The municipal office in Kenilworth will be closed on Dec. 24 at 1pm. Officials say most services offered at the office can be done electronically, by phone (519-848-3620) or through the mail.
For updates and more information visit the township website or its social media pages.