Day-to-day life in Prince Edward County is already changed under the spectre of COVID-19 but further restrictions regarding municipal services could be coming if the case count worsens in the Hasting Prince Edward Public Health catchment area.
The County of Prince Edward announced Wednesday it’s preparing to take further action if the municipality moves from yellow-protect to orange-restrict under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.
“We are not there yet, but we need to start making plans with cases of COVID-19 still increasing in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) region,” Mayor Steve Ferguson said. “It is vital that we protect our vulnerable populations and our health-care system capacity. One key way we can do that is by limiting as much as possible interaction among people who don’t live together.”
All municipal buildings, town halls, and museums would close to the public under orange-restrict for at least 28 days, at which time the municipality would re-evaluate the measures. The municipality would continue to provide essential services in-person by appointment only. Other non-essential services such as acquiring a burn permit or making a payment can be accessed through the County’s website or by mail.
Should the province and the local public health unit move the HPEPH region to orange-protect, the County would take extra precautions and close all recreation facilities including the walking track at the Wellington and District Community Centre. The municipality would pause team sports, practices, and training in municipal facilities. This measure would go beyond the provincial requirements under orange-restrict.
“We understand these measures will be disappointing for some, but we believe it’s the right thing to do given that we are in the middle of the second wave of this pandemic and the County remains in a declared state of emergency,” Mayor Ferguson says. “We managed to keep the case count low during the summer despite the record tourism numbers, but now as people move indoors and the case numbers are rising all around us, we have to take extra measures to protect the health and safety of our community.”
The County is encouraging people to find safe ways to get outside and stay active this winter. The Millennium Trail remains open, and the municipality is exploring the feasibility of adding more outdoor rinks working with local recreation committees. The municipality clears sidewalks in towns and hamlets throughout the winter to ensure people can walk and get exercise.
Private businesses, churches, and outdoor markets would be permitted to remain open under orange-restrict as long as they are following the measures set out in the provincial response framework.
Prince Edward County Public Library branches would continue to stay open should the region move to orange-restrict, offering curbside pick-up and with limited in-person access. Service updates will be posted on the Library website.
The County reminds everyone that they must wear a mask or face covering when inside an enclosed public space or at an outdoor market when physical distancing is not possible. Residents should also follow HPEPH’s advice to protect themselves and others:
- Stay home when you are ill
- Wash your hands often and clean frequently touched surfaces
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
More information is available on the County’s COVID-19 resource page.