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Novel coronavirus: COVID-19 

With the declaration of a Provincial State of Emergency the City is exercising an abundance of caution and has moved forward with a temporary closure of all City facilities to the public, to limit spread of the virus. This effort comes alongside others underway to limit the spread of the virus, protect staff and most importantly our residents.

What we are doing

The City of St. Catharines is taking COVID-19 seriously, and in following the advice of provincial and federal leaders is making significant changes to services and programming to help protect health and well being of the community. As a precautionary measure to ensure continued containment of the virus the City has enacted enhanced disinfection efforts at City facilities, and will enact a series of closures.

 Facility Closures

All City facilities have closed to the public until further notice. Closed City facilities include:

While city facilities are closed to the public, residents can still access City services online, or contact Citizens First by emailing citizensfirst@stcatharines.ca or calling 905-688-5600, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alternative options for those needing to make a payment can be found at www.stcatharines.ca/paymentoptions.

Service Disruptions and Cancellations

As a result of facility closures, and efforts to limit in-person interactions and slow the spread of COVID-19, some City services, programs and activities have been suspended until further notice. Despite these interruptions the City continues to ensure essential services are provided to residents.

  • All recreational programming: cancelled until further notice
  • Spring program registration: postponed until further notice
  • St. Catharines Arts Awards: postponed indefinitely
  • March 23 City Council Meeting: cancelled
  • Spring Tree Giveaway and Rain Barrel Sale: postponed until fall
  • St. Catharines Farmers Market Easter Eggstravaganza: cancelled.
  • St. Catharines Neighbourhood Forum: postponed until further notice
  • Volunteer Recognition Night 2020: postponed until further notice
  • Older Adult Centre Art Show and Sale: postponed until further notice.
  • Inspections of occupied dwellings including  building permit, building complaint, property standards, and other by-law inspections: suspended until April 6, pending further review. Other inspections continue, building permit applications are still being accepted via mail / courier.
  • Civil marriage ceremonies: cancelled until further notice
  • Issuing of Marriage Licences: suspended until further notice
  • Issuing of Death Certificates: delivered by City staff
  • Signing of Foriegn Pension Forms: suspended until further notice
  • New and ongoing Freedom of Information Applications: subject to delay
  • Issuing of Lottery Licences: suspended until further notice, cancelled lottery schemes will recieve an amendment to their original Lottery Licence or a credit
  • Water meter replacements, repairs and in-house water sampling: suspended until further notice
  • All upcoming public meetings and open houses: cancelled
  • Advisory committee and task force meetings: cancelled until further notice.
  • The legislated public meeting scheduled to be held at City Council on April 6, 2020 for the proposed new community improvement plan (2020CIP): postponed until further notice

Business Licences

New Business Licences will still be processed if accompanied with a cheque via the James Street drop box at City Hall, and issued once the facility reopens. 

Business Licence renewals can be processed if submitted via the James Street drop box with a cheque, and issued once City Hall reopens.

Bid and Tenders

To assist in the containment of COVID-19 the City will suspend public tender openings until further notice. The City will continue to ensure that unofficial bid results are made available on the City’s Bids and Tenders website. Unofficial results will be made publically available before the end of business day, on the day of closing. All other processes as outlined in the request for tender document(s) will remain unchanged unless formally amended by addendum.

 Transit

St. Catharines Transit has announced a modified service schedule to ensure service reliability. The modified service, the equivalent to current Saturday service, is effective Monday, March 16, and will be in place until April 3. Additional details and a full schedule can be found on the St. Catharines Transit Commission website and on the Transit app. There will be no reduction to paratransit service and there will be no change to evening, weekend or Sunday Service.

 Parking

 Payment is not required, on a temporary basis, for on-street or in municipal parking lots. This is to take away numerous people touching the same parking machines throughout the day. Parking enforcement for lack of payment will also be suspended until further notice.

 

Parking enforcement is currently limited to safety-related issues such as fire-routes, accessible parking, no-parking areas and fire hydrants. Time-limit restrictions have been relaxed to help those working from home or self- isolating. If you have a driveway the City encourages you to use it, keeping in mind there could be increased stationary vehicles on the road. We are all in this together - let’s be considerate of our neighbours.

 

All residential permits that expire while we are closed to the public will still be honoured. Any new permits or renewals can be purchased once City Hall reopens.

Residents who would like to dispute a ticket, can do so by scheduling a telephone screening. Phone interviews will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:50 a.m. until further notice.

Payments

While City Hall remains closed to the public, residents have several payment options for property tax, water bills and parking tickets that can be done from the comfort and safety of their own home.

Water and tax payments can be made via online banking through a resident’s financial provider. Cheques can also be mailed to the City. Details on these methods of payment are available at www.stcatharines.ca/paymentoptions.

All payments can also be made via cheque at the City Hall drop box, located at the James Street entrance. Do not deposit cash via the drop box.

The City also offers pre-authorized payment for water / wastewater and property taxes. Preauthorized debit agreements are available online at www.stcatharines.ca/preauthorizedpayment.

The City has introduced a payment grace period to support residents and businesses. 

The grace period for payment – which runs until June 30 – means late fees and interest penalties will not be applied to water and tax payments, as well as accounts receivables. Water bills continue to be issued across the City as scheduled.

The City has also suspended all water disconnections due to non-payment.

Legal and Clerks Services is also introducing a temporary grace period, until further notice, for a pair of its services. No late fees will be charged for business licences, and there will be no late fees for those renewing dog licences. While City Hall remains temporarily closed, residents can still renew the licences online via DocuPet by visiting www.stcatharines.ca/doglicence. Due the pandemic and difficulties pet owners may have arranging spay/neuter procedures and routine checkups, DocuPet is also developing a system to allow for temporary licenses to be purchased without the required documentation.

 Essential Services

 Residents will continue to see City crews and contractors working on behalf of the City, out doing essential infrastructure and maintenance work ranging from street cleaning to sewer infrastructure repairs. The City of St. Catharines provides several essential services such as the delivery of drinking water and the related maintenance that entails. With this work physical distancing between workers is not always feasible. In light of this the City is taking a number of precautions and using a multi-layered approach to protect the health of its workers, and community as a whole, such as:

  • Self assessments of workers;
  • Self isolation when warranted by self assessment;
  • Physical distancing of at least two metres when feasible;
  • Limiting physical interactions such as hand shaking, when physical distancing is not feasible;
  • Use of personal protective equipment;
  • Proper hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing; and
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection of work environments

 

 Further information

Knowledge of COVID-19, including ways to limit transmission, is important for all residents as the City works to limit the spread of the virus. 

 What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The new (novel) coronavirus is a new virus in this family which we have not previously seen.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • New cough
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, and rarely, death

How can you limit the spread

There are simple measures every resident can take to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, including:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Social distancing: stay home and only leave for food and other essentials, preferably only once per week
  • Covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or arms and sleeves 
  • Avoid touching of the face, eyes, mouth and eyes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Staying home if sick
  • Avoid all non-essential international travel, as recommended by Provincial and Federal health authorities 
  • Avoiding sharing of personal items

Self isolation

Individuals asked or ordered to self isolate due to recent travel or possible exposure should:

  • Not go to work, child care, or other public areas for 14 days
    • If you develop symptoms within 14 days of your self-isolation period, you must remain in self-isolation for an additional 14 days from the day your symptoms started OR 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped, whichever is longer
  • Separate themselves from others from others
    • Sleep in a separate room
    • Have a bathroom in your home dedicated to only you (if possible)
    • Maintain a distance of two metres from other people
  • Not have guests or visitors over
  • Clean hands often
  • Not use public transportation, ride sharing companies or taxis
  • Cancel non-urgent appointments until the end of the monitoring period
  • Avoid close contact with others, including those in their home as much as possible
  • Make alternate arrangements to support children and other dependents
  • Ask a friend or family member to helpget a supply of groceries and other necessities, the isolating individual(s) should not under any circumstances go themselves

Individuals in self-isolation who need to go out for any reason, call the Public Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info Line at 905-688-8248 ext. 7019 or 1-888-505-6074, and a nurse will provide you with detailed instructions to follow.

Travel and COVID-19

If you have travelled outside of Canada and returned on March 13 or after, you ar required to self isolate for a 14-day period. See the the information above, and addtional resources below for more information on self isolation.

Call ahead to allow health care staff to take appropriate precautions.

 Additional Resources and Information

Please visit the following links for further information related to COVID-19, including testing, case tracking and affected areas:

 

 

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines