Hamilton won't declare state of emergency, taking further measures against COVID-19


In another City of Hamilton update today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger confirmed that the city is taking new measures in the fight against COVID-19 but won’t be declaring a state of emergency at this time.

The city will be increasing signage in public areas reminding residents of the importance of physically distancing themselves from each other at all times.

Additionally, access to Hamilton’s Albion Falls and nearby parking is restricted starting today (Tuesday, March 24) until further notice.

“We are noticing that people are gathering in certain areas of our community in too large numbers and not respecting physical separation,” said Paul Johnson, director of the city’s Emergency Operations Centre.

Starting Wednesday, March 25, Hamilton will not be enforcing payment at parking meters and surface parking lots in the city (not including York Boulevard Parkade and the Hamilton Convention Centre garage) to help keep city staff off the roads.

However, the city will continue to penalize parking violations that could be considered a traffic or safety issue, particularly around waterfalls and other highly-visited public areas.

“There will be a strong enforcement regime out and some of the penalties in those areas are quite severe,” Johnson warned. 

The city says it is continuing to look into ways it can assist property owners and businesses in the city that have been impacted by the current pandemic, including working with the provincial and federal governments in that regard, but has nothing new to report at this time.

“Knee-jerk reactions at this point aren’t particularly effective,” Mayor Eisenberger said. “What we need is a concerted, reasoned, effective financial benefit that we can sustain over a period of time.”

As for waste collection, all residents are encouraged to put their waste on the curb on their regular collection day. Residents who don’t have their waste collected are asked to just leave it out for the next day as the city works to catch up following waste collection delays.

Leaf and yard waste collection will be suspended as of today until further notice. Green bins, blue boxes, and garbage will continue to be collected.

Despite the need for these new measures, Mayor Eisenberger has responded to residents who are wondering why the city hasn’t declared a state of emergency with the reaffirmation that it isn’t necessary at this time.

“We are all, by virtue of the province’s declaration, in a state of emergency, and there is no funding advantage or policy advantage that comes out of making a declaration or statement of emergency,” Eisenberger said. “If we were to do it now, it’s just optics.”

Eisenberger further states that city council already met on Friday and delegated authority to city staff to be able to deal with this emergency, meaning a formal declaration from the city is not required.

The mayor concluded by urging residents to continue to follow the recommendations of Public Health and keep practicing social distancing for the time being.

To listen to the full update, click here.

For more information on everything the city’s doing during this pandemic, visit hamilton.ca/public-health/covid-19/novel-coronavirus-covid-19.

Photo courtesy of City of Hamilton on Youtube

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