June 11th - External Key Messages – City of Ottawa Reopening Plan General
External Key Messages – City of Ottawa Reopening Plan
· Since the arrival of COVID-19 in March, residents have done an incredible job of following public health guidelines. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of our community, we have flattened the curve and slowed the spread of the virus.
· While we must remain vigilant, the City of Ottawa is now cautiously reopening and resuming some programs and services with safety being the top priority.
· The City’s plan is based on guidance from Ottawa Public Health and aligns with the Province of Ontario’s plan to gradually relax emergency orders.
· Public health, community support and economic recovery are all connected. Our phased reopening plan prioritizes programs and services that promote a safe and strategic expansion of Ottawa’s economy, with ongoing support for Ottawa’s vulnerable communities.
· Our reopening plan prioritizes public transit, recreation and childcare services to support residents returning to work and to provide relief during the warm summer months. Social services will reopen to support our most vulnerable. Counter services will resume by-appointment only.
· The safety of our residents and our employees is most important. All reopened services will follow public health guidelines. o In-person services will look different. All facilities will include safety features such, as protective shields, physical distancing measures and sanitization amenities.
o Many City services will continue virtually.
City of Ottawa Immediate Emergency Response
· As part of the immediate response to COVID-19, the City closed public facilities, suspended non-essential services, activities and programs and declared a State of Emergency. These decisions were made at the advice of Ottawa Public Health and based on Provincial Orders.
· While some services geared down, we redeployed staff and resources to support our community’s critical needs. We expanded online and remote services to continue serving our residents while much of our administrative staff work from home.
· The City remains in a state of emergency so that we can react quickly, access critical resources and redeploy staff to priority areas.
· As part of our reopening plan, we are implementing safety measures to protect the health and safety of residents and City employees.
· Residents have a major role to play in avoiding a second wave of positive cases.
· Everyone will have to remain vigilant and continue to follow public health guidelines:
o Stay at home when sick
o Practice physical distancing
o Wearing cloth masks when physical distancing is not possible
o Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face
· The City strongly recommends residents wear cloth masks while on City property when physical distancing isn’t possible. It is mandatory that transit customers wear cloth masks while on OC Transpo.
· We will actively monitor the situation and adjust if required. To avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the City is prepared to implement more stringent public health measures and may adjust the reopening plan at any time.
· COVID-19 may be present in the community for a long time, so reopening means adapting.
· City services will gradually reopen in a phased approach: o Pre-Recovery Phase: Maintain and Adapt (March-June): Includes services that continued during the pandemic and resuming or reopening some services in an adapted way.
o Recovery Phase 1: Restart (July): includes services that will restart in July in accordance with Provincial directives.
o Recovery Phase 2: Augment (August): includes services that will be augmented in August in accordance with Provincial directives.
· Many services will occur in new or different ways, including: increased virtual programming and online services, reduced group sizes, additional staffing for and facilities for programming, appointment based in-person counter services and contactless document drop off.
· On June 8, the Province of Ontario increased services permitted to reopen as part of their recovery plan. The City of Ottawa is currently reviewing several of the newly permitted services including:
o Indoor pools except wave pools
o Outdoor pools and wading pools
o Outdoor team practices on sports fields and courts
o Art galleries
o Community centers for non-recreation services
· Overcoming the new and unique challenges we will face as a City as we reopen will require patience, flexibility and the combined efforts of City employees, residents and community partners.
· The City of Ottawa will continue to support Ottawa’s vulnerable populations to ensure help is available to those who need it.
· We will fuel Ottawa’s economic recovery by supporting activities that generate revenue for the City and local businesses while safeguarding the health of the community.
· Protecting the health of City employees is crucial to a smooth reopening. We will take every precaution to ensure the safety of all residents and City employees.
· To safeguard the health of residents and employees, the City will focus on retrofits and increased safety measures at facilities, personal protective equipment for employees where required and other preventative measures, such as cloth masks and workplace hygiene standards.
· The City will implement health screening protocols for clients and employees and facilities will be cleaned thoroughly and frequently.
· City employees who can work from home will continue to do so.