• London COVID-19 Update April 4th

    Dear Londoners,

    We are in a critical period in the London region. The next 10 days or so are going to be very important in determining whether we are going to be able to start returning to a more normal situation for everyone sooner, or whether it is going to be a lot longer.

    I want to recognize the efforts of a large number of Ward 2 constituents, and those across the London who have already rallied to the call. Many of you have been stalwarts in doing your part to adhere to the changes required to flatten the curve. I know this is not being done without sacrifices on your part and on behalf of the City of London, I thank you for your steering the change needed to get through this.

    To quote our Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie from a statement made earlier this week:

    “I can’t make this any clearer, what we do now will determine how the situation unfolds…it is time to stay home and only go into the community for the essentials.”

    In London & Region we have a total of 113 confirmed cases. While sadly 5 people have passed away, we also have 13 patients who have recovered, and there are 95 active cases. While that may not seem like great news, between Tuesday and Friday our local increase has stayed between 13-15, rather than doubling each day or worse as we’ve seen in other places. That sort of linear growth is much better than exponential growth.

    BUT, SATURDAY DID HAVE A SMALL SPIKE AS 21 NEW CASES WERE CONFIRMED SO, WE NEED TO KEEP DOING WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING!!!

    Residents who have concerns about businesses and individuals who are not following COVID-19 related can report those concerns by email covidorderconcerns@london.ca (monitored 24/7) or by phone 519-661-4660 (monitored 8:30 am-4:30pm M-F).

    This is for concerns about non-essential businesses that are not closed, public gatherings over 5 people contravening the Ontario social distancing orders, and individuals who are not following Federal quarantine orders.

    It is vital that IF you use this resource that you provide SPECIFIC & DETAILED information.

    https://www.london.ca/newsroom/Pages/London-launches-email-and-phone-line-to-report-COVID-19-order-violations.aspx





    On Thursday London Transit made the decision to continue rear boarding and allowing passengers on without a pass or paying a fare (if you purchased an April pass last month, it can be refunded, details on how to do this will be available April 8) until the end of April.

    THIS DOES NOT MEAN FREE TRANSIT RIDES ARE THERE TO GET YOU OUT OF THE HOUSE BECAUSE YOU ARE BORED!

    Please respect that this is for people who have to use transit for essential trips to get to work, or get to a grocery store or pharmacy. And please be nice to your transit driver if you need to take the bus. They are still reporting for duty to help those who rely on them, but it is a stressful time for them as well.



    Throughout this situation I’ve been saying it’s fine to get outside and go for a walk, a bike ride, get some fresh air and exercise for your mental health as well as your physical health. AND that’s still fine to do! BUT…please I ask you to do these 3 simple things:

    1) Give each other space on the sidewalks and trails (walk on the lawn if you have to), physical distancing from folks outside your household needs to continue.

    2) If you bring a drink or snack take your garbage and recyclables home with you. Other people’s lawns are not your garbage can, and with staff at the city focused on essential services, we can’t send people out to change the park garbage cans every day or two.

    3) Respect that the playground equipment, basketball courts, skateboard parks etc. are CLOSED and should not be used. We really, really don’t want to have to start giving out fines instead of warnings, but it may come to that.

    City Recreation Facilities Memberships & Bookings Update:

    All spring recreation programming start dates and registration will be postponed until further notice.
     
    Registrants will be credited for any missed classes once the sessions begin and the program duration is confirmed.  To hold confirmed spots, we suggest maintaining registration. For registrants wishing to withdraw from a program, please email recreation@london.ca.

    Memberships
    All memberships will be extended based on the number of days that recreation facilities are closed.
     
    Rentals
    All facility rentals until May 3 are being cancelled at this time and refunds will be provided. Upcoming availability will be re-evaluated as the COVID-19 situation continues. 

    To cancel the rental of a facility booked beyond May 4, please email recreation@london.ca

    Mayor’s Economic & Social Impact and Recovery Task Forces

    Over the past two weeks I’ve been part of the temporary Mayor’s Task Forces on Economic Impact and Recovery, and Social Impact and Recovery, convened to understand and address the economic and social impact on London residents, organizations and businesses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The role of these task force efforts is to; listen to each other and help develop an understanding of the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the London community, create a network of community partners that are communicating those needs to provincial and federal levels of government, and  identify actions that can be taken by Londoners and London organizations to not only help during the public health emergency, but also with the difficult economic recovery period still ahead of us, which will also present new social challenges.

    The two task forces have been met both as entire groups (by video conference) and have been broken out into smaller working groups (also by video conferencing). I’ve been participating in the working groups focused on:

    • Small business, culture and tourism
    • Manufacturing, post-secondary, health and food
    • Construction and trades
    • Housing and Emergency Shelters
    • Emergency Services and Community Supports
    • Children and Youth

    I’ve also been working with the London Public Library Board, and the Argyle Business Improvement Association on the challenges they are facing during this emergency.  We are still in the early stages, we don’t have all the answers, but we have a group of amazing Londoners with all kinds of skills and experience working together on this for all of us.

    Although we really do want you to avoid unnecessary trips, we realize that sometimes ordering take out is a much needed break, or that something important at home broke and needs to be fixed or replaced (a toilet or a can opener can be pretty darn essential). I want to personally encourage you to consider “shopping local”–even if that means curbside pick-up–so that when the emergency is past, our local businesses haven’t disappeared. Small business owners are our neighbours and friends and they’re in this with us!

    ONTARIO UPDATE

    As of Saturday April 4th at Midnight, the updated list of “essential workplaces” goes into effect. This will mean additional business closures as well as some businesses having to go to “alternate service methods” like curbside pick-up.

    You can review this list yourself at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces

    The Ontario government also announced this week that schools will remain closed until at least May 4th.  It is important that our kids keep learning though, so e-learning is starting up. Teachers are reaching out to connect with parents and students to connect to online learning resources.  Connect with your child’s teacher or your home & school association for more info.

    For up to date info on COVID-19 please visit:
    Middlesex-London Health Unit https://www.healthunit.com/
    City of London www.london.ca
    Public Health Ontario https://www.publichealthontario.ca
    Government of Ontario https://www.ontario.ca
    Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca

    Mental Health Support- CMHA
    A pandemic is a very stressful event for individuals and communities. It’s normal to feel some stress and anxiety. It’s also very common for people to display great resiliency during times of crisis

    Canadian Mental Health Association: https://cmha.ca/
    In crisis? Please call toll free 1-833-456-4566

    Be kind to each other, stay safe, and stay healthy,

    Shawn Lewis
    City Councillor, Ward 2
    London ON

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