Almost two months since the Town of Georgina issued a declaration of emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on residents, businesses and the community. While the Town made the difficult decision to lay off 48 part-time staff in April, it is now faced with the need to take further steps to contain costs.
“All of the actions we have taken so far have been in support of our top priority – the health and safety of the people who live, work and visit Georgina,” said Chief Administrative Officer David Reddon. “I am proud of our staff and how they have continually adapted to change throughout this time. Unfortunately, the longer this goes on the greater the financial burden and this means we need to put additional measures in place for our business operations. We need to be responsible to help mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.”
The Town will now implement a four-day work week beginning May 15 up to and including July 31. The work week will run from Monday to Thursday for non-essential staff. This does not include fire and emergency services, and by-law enforcement. The 12-day closure on Fridays will allow the Town to manage vacation and lieu time to offset the expected unfunded liability of vacation carryover time.
In addition to layoffs, the Town also delayed hiring approximately 150 summer/seasonal/sessional staff. Recruitment has also been delayed for a number of current permanent full-time staff vacancies, unless the position supports essential services. Many staff continue to work productively from home and a number of staff have been redeployed to support essential services staff at various locations.
The Town has taken a number of steps to protect the community and staff, including the closure of all Town buildings and facilities, and the cancellation of programs. Council took action to help people facing financial challenges by waiving the penalty and interest for 90 days on the April 27 interim property tax bill. The Town also set up an emergency response benefit to support local businesses.
For the latest information on the impact of COVID-19 on the Town, visit georgina.ca/COVID-19.