Mayor Margaret Quirk statement on COVID-19

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The following is a statement from Mayor Margaret Quirk on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Town of Georgina:

“This week marks one month since the COVID-19 outbreak was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The Province of Ontario issued a Declaration of Emergency on March 17, with the Town issuing its declaration on March 19. This was the first time Georgina has done this. The decision allowed the Town to be aligned with the province and reinforce the importance of social distancing and self-isolation. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated and working throughout this time on issues dealing with COVID-19.

Our first action was to close Town buildings and facilities, and cancel programs and third-party rentals. This was followed by closing all Town parks, including the dog park, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, skateboard parks, trails and sports fields. Town boat launches and fishing areas within Town parks are also closed. By-law officers are enforcing the closures and working with York Regional Police on patrolling and enforcement.

The Town is still operating with essential staff at the Civic Centre and other staff are working from home. Business continuity is being maintained through customer service (phone and email), by-law enforcement, waste and recycling collection, business services, fire and emergency services, and water and wastewater services. By waiving the requirement for bag tags until further notice, residents can now place five untagged bags/items out for collection.

Council initially provided a 30-day waive of penalty and interest associated with the April 27 instalment of the interim tax bill. This has now been extended to 90 days. There will be no penalty added in May, June or July for an unpaid April 27 instalment. Residents who have an outstanding amount before April 27 will still incur penalty and interest on those amounts. As well, 2019 water/wastewater rates will remain in place for the duration of 2020. We encourage everyone who is able to pay their property taxes on time to continue to do so, as this will allow the municipality to continue to provide the services required by our residents and business community during this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses locally and globally. Our staff are committed to supporting our businesses with trusted and timely updates. Georgina's Economic Development team is working remotely and can be reached at ed@georgina.ca. We've teamed up with the Northern Six (N6) municipalities of York Region and the York Region Economic Strategy Office to assist local businesses through this crisis. Businesses are invited to fill out a form to request information on the changing resources available to companies in Ontario. Economic Development Staff are currently working with our community partners to research and evaluate opportunities to support longer-term recovery efforts. 

Beginning next week, another new normal for the Town as we begin holding virtual Council meetings on April 22 at 9 a.m. Residents can participate by providing written or email comments to the Town Clerk, rdillabough@georgina.ca, no later than noon the day before a scheduled meeting.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the front-line healthcare workers, and everyone who is working to keep our community functioning, including grocery store employees, fast food staff, municipal workers and the people behind the scenes that we don’t see. You are appreciated.

I also want to thank everyone who donated to the Community Challenge in support of the Georgina Food Pantry. Thanks to your efforts, more than $67,000 was raised and with the $25,000 donation from the Town, the total raised is just over $92,000. This money will allow the Food Pantry to purchase much-needed food in the weeks and months ahead.

As we look ahead to more spring-like temperatures, the EOC is planning for warmer weather and with it, increased pressure on our beaches and waterfront.

The message remains the same – stay home and stay safe, and maintain physical distancing if you do need to go out for the essentials such as groceries and prescriptions.

We know it has not been easy, but we must all come together by staying apart so we can stop the spread of the virus. It is wonderful to see people in our community stepping up to help others. Stay strong Georgina.”

Continue to check the Town’s dedicated webpage, georgina.ca/COVID-19, for the latest information and updates on the Town’s response to the pandemic. 

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