March 13, 2020 – As you are aware, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is evolving rapidly. I want to assure you that we are continuing to take precautionary steps to protect our people and the public.
We’re committed to keeping you informed of the steps we’re taking to help us stay ahead of the curve and to help stop the spread at work and in our communities.
Closures and cancellations
Based on the latest recommendations from the Ministry of Health, effective Monday, March 16, the following will be closed or cancelled for three weeks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- All City-managed recreation centres, cultural facilities and community centres
- All City programming including March break camps and fitness classes
- All City in-person public consultations (online consultations will continue)
- All Ottawa Public Library locations
- All public events at City Hall
- All large public gatherings of more than 250 people organized by the City.
These cancellations and closures will be in effect until April 5, and we will be reassessing the situation closer to that date.
We will be limiting the number of non-essential Committee meetings that take place at this time, as well as the extent of legislative items that are brought forward should meetings need to go ahead.
At this time, City services at City Hall, Mary Pitt Centre and all City Client Service Centres will remain open to continue to serve our residents.
Departmental business continuity plans and working from home
As I shared yesterday, General Managers are currently working on business continuity plans which will include work-from-home options for staff to ensure we sustain our workforce now and over the long term. More details will be shared with you by your General Manager on Tuesday.
Protecting front-line staff
For our front-line staff—your safety is our priority. I want you to know that the precautions we’re taking now are preventative and in an abundance of caution to help reduce the potential spread of the virus.
We are asking members of the public who plan on visiting our client service centres to check online to see if the services are available on ottawa.ca.
We’ve also posted signage at City facilities to discourage anyone who is showing signs of illness from using the facility.
City-run daycare centres have implemented further screening measures for all children, parents, visitors and staff entering the premises, similar to measures put in place in our long-term care homes.
Staff who are planning to travel should be aware that today, the Government of Canada has advised against all international travel.
I’m asking all staff to continue following the advice of Ottawa Public Health to take preventative measures at home, at work and in public spaces to limit the impact in Ottawa. This includes all advice on handwashing, social distancing and staying home if you are sick.
To stay informed on the latest COVID-19 developments in Ottawa, I encourage you to visit Ottawa Public Health’s website.
Finally, I want to reassure all staff that the health and wellbeing of our people and our community are our priority. The actions we are taking are to minimize the spike of cases and stay ahead of the curve so we can protect the public and our employees.