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Novel coronavirus: COVID-19 

COVID-19 continues to present a threat to the health and safety of our community. We all have a part to play in slowing the spread. Please follow the advice of Public Health, Provincial recommendations and regulations.

 Facilities

Currently closed City facilities include:

  • St. Catharines City Hall
  • Lake Street Service Centre 
  • Buchanan House
  • Morningstar Mill / Decew Falls
  • All of the City's fire stations
  • Community centres
  • St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre
  • St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre
  • All Older Adult Centres including Dunlop Drive, West St. Catharines, and Port Dalhousie
  • All arenas, Niagara Health vaccine clinic continues to run at Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre
  • Happy Rolph's Animal Farm: site open for outdoor recreational use, animals not present
  • The Meridian Centre
  • Merritton Community Centre
  • St. Catharines Enterprise Centre
  • Lakeside Park Carousel

While city facilities are closed to the public, residents can still access City services by contacting Citizens First at citizensfirst@stcatharines.ca or on 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, 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.

  • Inspections inside occupied dwellings remain suspended: inspections will be conducted from the outside of occupied dwellings where applicable.

  • Mulch / wood chip giveaway at Jaycee Gardens Park: cancelled
  • Civil marriage ceremonies: cancelled until further notice
  • Issuing of Death Certificates: delivered by City staff
  • In-person recreation programming: cancelled
  • Issuing of City Consumer Fireworks Sales Permits: suspended until further notice
  • New and ongoing Freedom of Information Applications: subject to delay

City Hall

City Hall is currently closed to the public. Services will be provided via online and over the phone.

For more information, please visit our Citizens First page.

Mandatory Masks By-law

On July 13, 2020, St. Catharines City Council passed By-Law No. 2020-97, requiring that all visitors and staff in enclosed public spaces to wear a face mask or covering at all times.

By-law came into effect on July 17, 2020. For more information please visit our Masks By-law page.

Please note: the Niagara Region has also passed a mandatory mask by-law that applies to the entirety of Niagara, with further stipulations and exemptions including the requirement that children five and older wear a face covering. Visit the Region's mask by-law page for more information.

Emergency Orders Enforcement

Currently under provincial orders certain non-essential businesses are required to remain closed while others must operate under certain safety protocols. 

Residents who are concerned with individuals or groups violating Provincial emergency orders can report them:

  • During business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday: via our online form for investigation, via phone at 905.688.5600 or via email at CitizensFirst@stcatharines.ca.
  • Outside of business hours: via the Niagara Region's dispatch line at 905.984.3690 or 1.877.552.5579 

Do not call 911.

 

State of Emergency

On Jan. 12, 2021, the Province of Ontario, declared a State of Emergency.

What is a declaration of emergency?

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act the Premier, or their designate, has the authority to declare an emergency in response to a situation, or impending situation, that presents a major danger that could result in serious harm to residents or substantial damage to property.

Why did the Province declare an emergency?

The declaration underscores the continued importance of efforts to flatten the transmission curve, reminding residents that even as faith-based holidays approach and the weather improves they must continue to do their part by following the advice of public health officials, and orders put in place by the Province, to:

  • Self isolate and stay home whenever possible
  • Maintain physical separation of two metres
  • Limit contact to their own household
  • Wash their hands regularly
  • Routinely disinfect surfaces
  • Observe mandatory closures of non-essential businesses and outdoor recreational amenities
  • Follow mandatory 14-day quarantines when returning from travel outside of the province

Declaring an emergency allows us to not only draw attention to how important public cooperation is and how serious the COVID-19 situation could become, but also allows the City to act more quickly in its decision making in response to the virus.

Are we more at risk now that an emergency has been declared?

No, the declaration does not mean the risk is greater, it does however recognize with the beginning of community spread and the efforts on behalf of the City, residents and businesses to reduce the spread are more important than ever. This potential for increased spread in the community meets the criteria of potential immediate risk to declare an emergency.

Does this impact how the City will deliver services?

At this time the City facilities are closed to the public. However we will continue to offer essential services to residents. Currently there is no impact on these core services. The declaration means, should things rapidly escalate or change, the City will be able to move swiftly to ensure services such as water and transportation are not interrupted.

See our Contact page for more information.

What does this mean to me?

It means residents must continue to do their part in limiting the spread of the virus, following the suggestions of public health, and orders from the Province of Ontario. Those found violating Provincial orders could face fines.

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.

Taxpayers can use the City’s online e-bill portal to access water and tax information. A link to the portal, and information on how to register, is available at www.stcatharines.ca/ebilling.

Residents who have purchased or sold a property can use our online form to ensure their information is up to date and to notify the City of a new water account or account closure.

 

COVID-19 Property Tax Payment Plan

Council has approved the creation of a Special Pre-authorized Property Taxes COVID-19 Payment Plan for 2021 which would allow all tax payers whose taxes were paid in full by Feb. 28, 2020 —  and who have since experienced severe financial hardship due to the pandemic — to pay their outstanding 2020 and 2021 property taxes penalty and interest free over a 12 month period.

Applications must be received by Jan. 29, 2021.

For more information visit the 2021 Pre-authorized Property Taxes COVID-19 Payment Plan Page.

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.

 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 / chills
  • Cough
  • Runny nose or stuff / congestion, not related to allergies
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, extreme tiredness or muscle aches

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
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is difficult or not an option

Vaccinations

Getting a vaccine when available is critical in stemming the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Vaccine delivery  in Niagara is being overseen by Niagara Region Public Health.

For information on vaccine delivery, eligibility, booking and more please visit Public Health's vaccine page.

Self isolation

Individuals are to self-isolate if they fall under one of the following:

  • Start to develop symptoms (see specific guidance for children and adults)
  • Are living with a household member that has symptoms and is being sent for COVID-19 testing
  • Are a close contact of a positive case with COVID-19
  • Are a laboratory confirmed case with COVID-19
  • Are required to do so under the Quarantine Act due to travel outside of Canada

How to self isolate:

  • Stay at home and indoors. Don't go to school, work or any public areas.
  • Find alternate accommodations away from anyone else if possible
  • If getting alternate accommodations isn't possible, stay in a separate room
    • Have a caregiver bring meals and supplies to the room and drop off outside the door
    • Have a bathroom in your home dedicated to only you. If a bathroom needs to be shared, clean after every use.
    • Don't share utensils, toothbrushes, tablets, gaming devices, headsets, towels, etc.
    • If you must leave your room, wear a medical mask if you have one, otherwise wear a face covering
    • Keep a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from other household members
    • Rooms in the home should be well ventilated, such as keeping windows open, if possible and if weather permits and can be tolerated
  • No visitors
  • You may go outside in your own backyard or balcony. Make sure to clean doorknobs after each use.
  • Don't use public transportation, rideshare companies or taxis
  • Cancel non-urgent appointments
  • If you must go out for a medical appointment or urgent care, you must contact the COVID-19 Info-Line at 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 2 and a public health professional will give you detailed instructions to follow to protect you, your family and members of the public
  • Make alternate arrangements to support children and other dependents, if possible
  • Ask a friend or family member to help you get a supply of groceries and other necessities. Don't go out and get them yourself.

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 traveled outside of Canada and returned on March 13 or after, you are required to self isolate for a 14-day period. See the the information above, and additional 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