There is no curfew in Ottawa, but starting Saturday, a four-week province-wide shutdown order will begin, temporarily closing all in-person dining and fitness centres, and reducing capacities at retail stores.
Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, also urged city residents to reserve travel to Gatineau for essential purposes. Every day there’s a connection between Ottawa and Gatineau residents when it comes to COVID-19 contacts because of the “intertwined” nature of the two cities, Etches said.
Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services, said bylaw services will be reviewing the Ontario regulations in planning any enforcement activities over the next four weeks. Bylaw officers will continue to enforce the rules when they see “egregious” behaviour, Di Monte said.
The latest shutdown will once again hurt the finances of Ottawa’s municipal government, since recreation programs will go dark and fewer people could be using OC Transpo.
A financial update is scheduled to happen at a finance and economic development committee meeting on Tuesday.
Watson said he has confidence the upper governments will help municipalities with additional shortfalls caused by economic shutdowns.
The federal and provincial governments have “consistently been there to help and backstop the extraordinary expenses,” Watson said.
Earlier in the day, federal Minister of Middle Class Prosperity Mona Fortier, the MPP for Ottawa-Vanier who’s also the associate minister of finance, said she understands the financial pressures of municipalities and pumped up a previous announcement that the feds will nearly double the gas tax transfer to municipalities.
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