Life gets a little more pleasant and bearable - the suds will flow on Friday. City is still at Level 3 of the Emergency rules.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020



The city will begin to open up later this week – people will be getting out and experiencing a much different dining experience.

The Gazette will have photographers out documenting how the city responds and behaves.

Brant street getting ready

Queen’s Head setting up for Sound of Music in better days. Will we see this on Friday?

Will there be lineups next to the pop up stands – How many patio places are there going to be?

The city is currently at a Level 3 under the provincial emergency legislation. City manager Tim Commisso reports that the city declared a level 2 on March 12th and moved to a level 3 five days later.

He said earlier today that the Emergency Coordination Group reviewed the criteria and said “we still meet the criteria for level 3 so no change.

The documentation and legislation, including the regulations amounts to a decent sized book. Commisso did say that he hasn’t read every page but is “generally aware of the policy” adding that he has “the benefit of having Amber Ruston advise me as our Emergency Manager – she is an expert staff resource in all things related to provincial and emergency municipal management.

So – we are still at level 3 but we can get out for a meal – with wonderful weather seats at Emma’s Back Porch and Spencer’s overlooking the lake will be at a premium.

There will be some pretty tight rules to be followed – follow them – they are in place for our benefit. When you come across an establishment that isn’t following – remind the operators that the rules are in place for a reason – your health.

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Identity theft during this pandemic has increased - read what you get carefully - if in doubt - don't.

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

June 17th, 2020



As identity theft scams go – this one is good.

Well written, sounds right – but it isn’t.

It was sent to us at the Gazette – we don’t bank with the Royal.

Here’s their pitch:

RBC continues to develop industry-leading digital capabilities for its clients. As we make our clients’ everyday banking experience easier, we continue to be guided by the imperatives of trust and security. Verifying and protecting our clients’ identities is among the most important things we do.The world-class technology underpinning these features will better protect clients.

A single digital platform gives us immense flexibility to reuse core capabilities that extend across the bank and design solutions with our clients and advisors in mind from the start. This means clients will enjoy a more consistent experience with RBC across our delivery channels.

For more details about this new technology and to keep your account at RBC up to date as required by law in your jurisdiction please find the document attached for a complete guide.

For your security the document as been password protected, please find the password below.

Document PassKey: NISTRBC3073

Bank Safely and Securely with RBC

Look at the url – RBC Online Registrations <>  The letter d is what gives thiis one away.

Remember – if in doubt – don’t

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Rocca Sisters report on the real estate market for May - residential sales were down - prices up 9+%

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 17th, 2020



There were exactly half as many active listings at the end of May as compared to the end of May 2019.

Just to put this into perspective, at the end of May 2015, there were 615 freehold properties for sale in Burlington as compared to 203 active listings at the end of May 2020.

Given the inventory levels, you would expect a corresponding reduction in sales but in fact, sales were down only 36.8% which helps explain why we saw a 9.3% increase in sale prices whilst in the middle of a pandemic.

Year to date, sales are down 21% and sale prices are up 12.9% as compared to the same period in 2019.

Properties sold for 98.34% of the listing price and in 33 days, on average during the month of May 2020.

What Does This Mean?
The market has responded favourably to this otherwise distressing and unsettling time. Inventory levels have remained very low, demand seems to be strong and so of course, the result has been increases in prices paid. Economics 101. The larger question is, what will happen as the restrictions ease, people get back to work (or not) and the fallout becomes a reality. With no historical reference to help us predict the future, it’s anyone’s guess how this will all turn out. For now, we are experiencing a sellers market (but a restrained one) in all of our trading areas and it’s hard to imagine how that will change.

Rocca Residential May 2020


Condominium market

While inventory levels are still well below 2019 numbers (100 units for sale in 2019 compared to 84 in 2020), they are trending upwards. Sale prices were up 7.6% and sales were down 38.8% in the month of May, when compared to May 2019. Condo units sold for 99% of the asking price and in 20 days, on average during the month of May.

Rocca Condo May 2020

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One Burlington supports Black Lives Matter

News 100 redBy Staff

June 17th, 2020



One Burlington, the multi-cultural organization that holds a not to be missed event in the summer (it will not take place this year) released a statement earlier today supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Let us hope that their involvement goes beyond a Statement.

One Burlington statement.

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“Done properly and with true commitment, they (demonstrations) can conjure broad public support for long overdue change.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020



At what point do people being “politically correct” become the problem – getting in the way of what the issue is really all about ?

Black Lives Matter is not a new phrase. It was used by a Toronto Group a number of years ago when they sat down and closed a busy street to make a point.

Had they not done that they would have been ignored.

Canada has been a racist country since its founding.

Our treatment of the Aboriginal Community has been shameful. What we did during WW II to Japanese people who were born in this country was criminal.

Our Jewish friends were not spared either; a passenger ship was turned away from an Canadian port and ended up returning to Europe where many of the passengers were pushed into Nazi gas chambers.

We talk about how terrible all this is – but we don’t do much.

Can you imagine a community in this country not having potable water?

Can you imagine children in this country not being able to get the education they deserve?

The Tragically Hips’ Gord Downie publicly called out the Prime Minister at his last concert to extract a promise that the Aboriginal people would be taken care of –  hasn’t happened yet has it?.

BLM 3 JAmes and Brant

A large, well behaved crowd made their point – Black Lives Matter

Five thousand people marched on city hall earlier this month; when they got there they lay down in the street shouting the slogans that are now very “au courant”

A second protest demonstration was announced for last Saturday – it didn’t take place. There was no word from the people behind the planned event that it would not take place.

When a protect group or a group advocating for a change in policy is created and begins to have a public profile transparency and accountability applies to them. There is a level of responsibility that has to be met.

The Gazette reported on that “non-event” in Civic Square last Saturday.

Many took exception to the headline we used and let their politically correct sensitives get bruised.

No offence was intended – anyone who reads the Gazette knows where we stand on these issues.

One writer took issue with the spelling errors – he was correct on that one and we appreciate being called to task.

He was also bothered by the few words that were used explain an inflammatory situation. There were links to three previous articles as part of the story.

BLM march June

They marched along New Street to the Civic Square

Social media buzzed for almost half a day on the coverage we gave.

Gary Mason, a regular columnist for the Globe and Mail wrote recently saying “…media, generally, have helped train a light on on issues   – systemic racism and police brutality.” In the same column he comments on the nature of the relationship between media and those doing the demonstrating. He speaks to protest movements saying: “If you decide to close a major traffic corridor to draw attention to your issue, whatever it may be,  you’d better be prepared to be covered and and asked questions by the media.  It’s only fair that you spend some time explaining and justifying your actions.  Under no circumstances should demonstrators think they can stage events that effect the broader public and be exempt from scrutiny.

“It doesn’t work that way.

“Done properly and with true commitment, they can conjure broad public support for long overdue change. They can prompt some of us to look deeper within ourselves and see the world in a new way.

“The media have been, and will continue to be, an important conduit between those demanding change and those who need to be educated about it.”


Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Related news story.

One Burlington stand with BLM


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Shooting on Woodview Road - victim with serious injuries transported to hospital.

Crime 100By Staff

June 17th, 2020



HRPS crestAt just after 9:00 am this morning the Halton Regional Police Service received a call regarding a shooting on Woodview Road (in the area of New Street and Walkers Line) in Burlington.

Upon arrival at the scene, one victim was located with serious injuries and has been transported to hospital.

Two possible suspects fled on foot. Suspect descriptions are not available at this time and suspects remain outstanding.

Area residents are asking to shelter in place until further notice.

Residents should expect ongoing heavy police presence in the area. Any witnesses are asked to call 905-825-4777 ext. 2310 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

For ongoing updates, please follow @HaltonPolice on Twitter.

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Mayor has soothing words for a troubled sector of the local economy - 'our beloved restaurants'

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020



In the eyes of the Mayor the provincial reopening strategy, will allow “our beloved restaurants” to welcome customers again to dine on-site – just in time for summer!

In her most recent Better Burlington Newsletter the Mayor explains that: “While indoor dining is not yet permitted, outdoor patios will be permitted to open for businesses as of this Friday, June 19th for those who are ready to reopen.

“I know our restaurant owners have been deeply engaged in the health and safety guidelines that will help them reopen in ways that keep our community health, such as the Dinesafe reopening guide and checklist from the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association and the comprehensive guidelines set out by the Province.

west plains bistro

Will that parking lot become a pop up patio quick quick

“To help our local restaurants manage provincial guidelines on physical distancing and serve as many customers as possible, the City of Burlington is working hard to enable patio expansions and pop-ups.

“Our teams have been working with the Burlington Restaurant Association over the past month to better understand their interest and needs so we could be ready to quickly work together on this initiative with a one-time detailed application form and an accelerated approval process.

“Restaurants can apply for patio permits that leverage city space downtown such as sidewalks or streets, and permits that expand into private property such as parking lots (in partnership with landlords) anywhere in the city.

“I know we are all looking forward to spending time outside together in a new and safely distanced way, and supporting our restaurants and small business owners who are very excited to see us again.

The Province’s framework for reopening includes additional details on this stage:

Food trucks

Will food trucks fill some of the outdoor gap?

Restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food and drink establishments (e.g., wineries, breweries and distilleries) can open for dining in outdoor areas only, such as patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent premises.

Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different households, including:

using reservations

limiting number of patrons allowed in the outdoor space at one time

ensuring enough space between tables, including to allow for movement

access to indoor facilities is limited to patio/outdoor dining area access, food pickup, payment, washrooms or other health and safety purposes

The big question is: Are you going to be able to get a table? Many people are about to find out just how much that restaurateur loves them.

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What's open and permitted - What isn't open - Your family circle and your more public circle

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 16th, 2020



At one minute after midnight on Friday the city will move into Phase 2 of the Emergency legislation that has determined what we can and cannot do.

The following businesses, services, recreational and outdoor facilities will be allowed to reopen in Halton region with proper safety measures in place:

Pop up on rant Coop BEST

There will be lineups to get a seat in a pop up patio. Lingering over a drink won’t be encouraged.

Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;

Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;

Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only.

Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;

Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;

Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;

Camping at private campgrounds;

Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;

Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;

Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing.

Libraries Libraries can provide limited on-site services & programs.

Community centres Community centres can re-open provided they comply with certain conditions including keeping communal kitchens and interior dining spaces closed.

Gatherings in vehicles for religious services, rites & ceremonies No limit on the number of vehicles that can attend provided that conditions in Sect. 8 of Provincial Reg. 52/20 are met.

Performing Arts and Cinemas Concert venues, theatres and cinemas remain closed (except for drive-ins).

Food and beverages can only be sold to people in attendance at the drive-in cinema / drive-in or drive-through concert, theatrical production, performance or artistic event, if they are delivered directly to the vehicle.

Nelson swimming pool

The Nelson Pool

Indoor and outdoor water amenities All pools can open (no waterparks).

Outdoor recreational activities & attractions Outdoor activities and attractions can open. No high contact with surfaces or being physically close.

Outdoor team sports training Team sport training can resume while staying physically distant (NO SCRIMMAGES OR GAMES). Access to amenities limited to equipment management and washrooms.

Private & provincial parks/campgrounds Car and RV camping can resume. Limited access to comfort stations (washrooms only).

Beach access and some services at Provincial parks Beach access at Ontario parks is permitted. Services and programming can resume with modified operations.


Social gatherings
Permitted with no more than 10 people (increase from 5).

Organized public events
Permitted with no more than 10 people, including a parade (increase from 5).

Indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites or ceremonies
Permitted with conditions, including limited indoor capacity (for example, cannot exceed 30% of the maximum capacity of any particular room in the building or structure).

Outdoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites or ceremonies
Permitted with conditions, including cannot go over maximum of 50 people in attendance

Child care
Licensed child-care centres can reopen and emergency child-care services end.

Summer day camps
Day camps can open with modified operations, no overnight stays.
NOTE: Community centres or facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities can also open province-wide, if used exclusively by summer day camps.

Training centres / training delivery agents
Certification, licensing and training programs, including apprenticeships, can resume.

Post-secondary education institutions
Post-secondary education institutions: universities, colleges, Indigenous Institutes, private career colleges and private universities can reopen effective Thursday, July 2, 2020.


5 point social circleThe Province of Ontario is encouraging residents to establish social circles.

You can have a social circle abd be involved in a social gathering.

The rules for social circles are different from the Rule of 10. Social gatherings can be any 10 people from outside your household, but where physical distancing of at least 2 metres should be maintained.

People may now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. This could include: hugging, carpooling, enjoying a patio and sharing a meal without staying two metres apart.

Social circles will also bring back supports from people outside of their household who can now help with children, seniors or those in need.

Keep in mind that the virus is transferred for the most part from person to person

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Halton District School Board grads earn some prestigious scholarships - none came from Burlington schools.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 16th, 2020


The Halton District School Board is proud to celebrate the accomplishments of numerous students who have received prestigious scholarships for September 2020 that recognize their outstanding achievements and will support their academic studies.

Miller prep at Central

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our Halton students,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board points to the “…hard work, dedication and perseverance” that has caught the attention of many post-secondary institutions while inspiring all of us in the Board. We are confident you will enjoy much success in your studies and beyond, as you make a tremendous difference in this world.”

The following Grade 12 students have been awarded significant scholarships at Canadian universities based on their outstanding academic performance, leadership, involvement in extracurricular activities, or commitment to community service:

Yash Mulki, Abbey Park HS: Schulich Leader Scholarship to the University of Waterloo

Anya Sarma, Iroquois Ridge HS: Western University National President’s Scholarship

Rohan Atal, Iroquois Ridge HS: Queen’s University Chancellor’s Scholarship

Nicholas Chronis, Iroquois Ridge HS: Queen’s University Chancellor’s Scholarship

Cole Sweet, White Oaks SS: Schulich Leader Scholarship to Western University

Eric Xu, White Oaks SS: Western University National Scholarship

Madeleine King, Georgetown District HS: University of Toronto National Scholarship

Ahmed Raja, Craig Kielburger SS: Schulich Leaders Scholarship to McMaster University (along with other scholarships from McMaster)

Urmi Sheth, Oakville Trafalgar HS: York University Governors’ Awards of Distinction: Betty-Jean and John M. Bankes Scholarship.

That is a very impressive list. There were no Burlington grade 12 students recognized.


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Soar by Hooman Mehdizadehjafari selected for the City View Park public art commission

artsorange 100x100By Staff

June 16th, 2020



Mehdizadehjafari’s artwork, Soar will be installed in front of the new pavilion being constructed at City View Park.

A Request for Expressions of Interest was released in October 2019. Over 50 artists’ submissions were received and reviewed by a community jury made up of residents, local artists and project stakeholders.

Soar - art work city view park

Mehdizadehjafari’s artwork, Soar will be installed in front of the new pavilion being constructed at City View Park.

The jury selected three finalists to develop preliminary artwork concepts.

These three submissions were shown to residents for feedback on Get Involved Burlington and at two in-person displays at Brant Hills Community Centre and Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. More than 400 comments were received. Public feedback and the artist’s technical proposal were factored into the jury’s final scoring and decision.

City View Park Project
The council approved City View Park Master Plan is being implemented through several phases. To date, three artificial turf fields, creative playground, parking, pond/wetland, trails, natural restoration and a park maintenance facility have been added. The next phase for a pavilion is currently out for construction tender with that work scheduled to start in September 2020. The artwork will complement the park building.

Artwork Location
The artwork will be in a large naturalized area in front of the pavilion. This area will link together pathways from the future parking lot to the front entrance of the pavilion and a central roadway. The artwork will be viewable from inside the pavilion’s main lobby through large glass walls looking out.

Soar artist City View park

Hooman Mehdizadehjafari,, an Iranian-Canadian artist with an impressive body of work.

Artist Statement
Inspired by the oldest living creature in Eastern North America, the public art design Soar inherited its form from the Eastern White Cedar.

The 17-foot-tall metal sculpture reflects the rich natural heritage of the region, in particular the Niagara Escarpment.

The diversity of materials used creates a beautiful play of colours that can often be seen in nature and alludes to the diverse and united community of Burlington. Soar is a reflective mirror of the rich natural heritage of the site and celebrates the gracious and honourable ambition of appreciating and protecting the environment and ensuring its passing on to future generations.

The applied words THROUGH – NATURE – WITH – LOVE – WE – THRIVE in Soar, create an infinite circulation that reflects the ultimate message of this piece: by loving our nature, valuing and protecting it, we may grow and thrive within it peacefully.

Artist Biography
Hooman Mehdizadehjafari, creator of Hoomanart is an award-winning Iranian-Canadian visual artist and designer based in Vancouver, Canada. He was born in 1985 in Kerman, Iran and graduated from the Tehran University of Art with a Master’s in Sculpture and Painting.



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Arrest Made In Series of Identity Frauds. Police Seeking Assistance in Identifying Second Wanted Male.

Crime 100By Staff

June 16th, 2020


The Halton Regional Police laid charges against one male in relation to multiple identity fraud incidents.

HRPS crestBetween March and May 2020, there have been a number of incidents where a group of thieves targeted elderly females shopping in retail spaces. Suspects obtained the victims personal identification numbers of their financial cards as they observed them at these retail locations. As the victims returned to their vehicles in the parking lots, these suspects distracted them in order to steal their credit cards.

These suspects used the stolen credit cards for cash withdrawals and retail purchases in the Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington.

On June 12th, one accused male was arrested in Toronto.

Investigation by the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau has led to the charges against the following individual:

Constantin LITEANU (46 years of Burlington)
• Participation in Criminal Organization
• Fraud Under $5000 (7 counts)
• Personation with Intent (7 counts)
LITEANU was held for a bail hearing on the 12th of June 2020.

Fraud 1 June 16fraud 2 June 16Fraud 3 June 16

The Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau is also seeking the public’s assistance in order to identify the second suspect who is described as male, white, 25-30 years old, 5’9 to 5’10, medium build 170-180 lbs, with facial hair and dark rimmed glasses. This male is wanted by a number of police services throughout the Greater Toronto and Niagara Area. (Photos attached)

Shoppers are reminded to pay close attention to their surroundings and keep a close eye on their valuables. Purses should be kept on your person at all times. Do not leave items such as purses and cell phones unattended in grocery carts while shopping.

Any fraudulent activity on your financial cards should be reported immediately to your bank and to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Older Adult Abuse Investigator at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Related news story.

Thieves preying on female seniors

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Gateway Casinos Slowed Down by the Pandemic

eventspink 100x100By George Keburia

June 16th, 2020


The coronavirus pandemic reached Canada quite some time ago, resulting in thousands of deaths.

Despite the timely measures and restrictions that were introduced by the province, the deadly virus still managed to spread all across Canada. Moreover, the nation’s biggest trade partner and neighbor the United States remains the most severely affected country in the world as the number of total coronavirus infections exceeds a thumping 2 million mark.

US border closed PAID

Travel into the United States has been suspended for all except vital transportation of goods.

When talking about the impact of the global pandemic on Canada, there are many factors that should be considered. Except for the internal issues that have emerged after the lockdown, the closure of the US/Canada border has also resulted in devastating consequences for Canadian businesses. Many gambling venues along the border were highly dependent on American visitors that would visit over the weekend and spend considerable sums of money. Yet, for almost three months now, these venues have not been able to accept even the local customers.

In mid-march, the government of Canada led by the prime minister Justin Trudeau announced that due to the global pandemic, all enclosed entertainment venues would have to shut down indefinitely. This changed the country drastically over the past two and a half months. The list of affected businesses included casinos, restaurants, bars, and entertainment centers. The gambling venues ended up being one of the hardest-hit businesses in the industry. Unlike restaurants, casinos can’t deliver orders and offer takeaways.

Yet, the vast majority of gambling businesses saw an alternative in moving onto the internet. The list covered all types of venues and as of now, the number of VIP online casinos in Canada is simply tremendous. This way, venues that previously hosted thousands of visitors per day can offer similar services to those loyal customers online. Obviously, this does not tackle the problem at a large scale but most certainly helps businesses survive throughout this turbulent period.

Despite the fact that many gambling businesses found the idea of online casinos helpful, there are still some major operators that simply can not substitute huge revenues with just a mere fraction of it. Such companies had to abandon not only their active venues but also major projects underway in different parts of the country. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment is one of such businesses that now faces lots of obstacles on the way of getting back up and running.

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment evaluating the current state of legislation in Ontario amid the pandemic

‘Gateway Casinos and Entertainment’ is one of the leading operators in the industry across Canada. It owns venues all across the nation and employs hundreds of people. Overlooking the operation of this scale, the company became one of the hardest-hit businesses over the past few months. From mid-march, Gateway casinos and entertainment along with others nationwide had to take its operations to a complete standstill. The company is still unable to operate amid the ongoing restrictions.

Gateway North Bay PAID

COVID 19 put the construction of the North Bay Casino on hold

The government of Ontario has recently talked about the potential of re-opening businesses, including those that fall under the entertainment umbrella. This could mean opening up the Gateway casinos and entertainment to the public. However, there is another crucial part that comes with the process of lifting regulations. The company has its ongoing construction project in North Bay. The government has already given a green light for construction work to recommence. Yet, the company seems to be careful about spending with no  casinos open at the moment.

Gateway is now trying its best to reopen its casino businesses. Without the venues up and running, it will likely have trouble financing major construction works in North Bay and beyond. Despite the government’s remarks about the possible opening of certain entertainment businesses, there are still no specific guidelines or time frames about the future of the business.

Casinos will have to adjust to the current state
Sooner or later casinos along with other entertainment venues will open to the public. This day will likely come sooner than we think but the cost of this process might be overwhelming for many businesses. With social distancing being the only effective tool for us to curb the spread of the COVID-19, everything inside of venues will have to adjust to the new reality. This will mean fewer seats and slot machines while customers will have to constantly keep the safe distance.

Gateway Sudbury PAID

Patrons at the Sudbury Gateway Casino where the delight in plying the slots is evident.

The Sudbury casino by Gateway has 70 active employees that are ready to get back to work. However, as the capacity of venues will be significantly reduced, the likelihood of them all coming back is very low. There will most certainly be some spending cuts which might result in the reduction of the staff.

Without any specific guidelines or frameworks for how casinos should operate under unprecedented circumstances, the Casino Rama Resort by Gateway in Orilla is reportedly preparing to open. The Gateway representatives say that they are cooperating with the government of Ontario regarding specific venues that could potentially open first in the row.

Many ideas are being considered about how Gateway could get back to doing business actively. There were plans to expand the floor space and add a separate smoking room for the customers. Yet, the idea was scrapped as it potentially stood as a great health risk for employees.

With the total coronavirus infection number globally exceeding 7 million, many new innovative frameworks are introduced for venues to operate safely. Hopefully, Gateway will be one of such innovators in the field.

George Keburia is a commentator on the entertainment sector in Canada

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Retail and hospitality sectors asked to make the Promise to follow the rules when they open on Friday.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 15th, 2020



Last week Oakville North Burlington MP Pam Damoff released the POST Promise.

The promise is a partnering with the private sector, including the Business Council of Canada, on their POST Promise program.

Post promiseThis initiative calls on businesses to commit to five key public health measures – like physical distancing and handwashing – to protect customers and employees.

I encourage all business owners – whether you have a restaurant, a tech start-up, or a boutique – to join in today at

Together, we can keep people safe and give Canadians the confidence that’s needed to restart our economy.

The POST Promise is a self-declaration that a business is working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Once completed, a business is provided with the necessary communication and implementation tools to educate employees on the five key steps to workplace safety, which were created to be consistent with what has been recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Businesses who make the promise will be able to use and prominently display the POST Promise logo which is a nationally recognized symbol of a business’ commitment to doing their part to protect their customers’ and employees’ health and safety as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Participating business can also purchase a kit which will include additional communication tools like window decals, posters and tent cards which can be used to further build awareness of their commitment within their place of business.

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Some of the locations that open up on Friday.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 15th, 2020



The rules that will apply to the opening that begins on Friday will dribble out from the province – setting out just what will be in place in terms of social distancing, mask wearing and what the retail and hospitality sectors will be expected to do.

Still a lot to be learned – stay tuned – here is what we know so far.

select personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;

shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;

tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;

water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;

beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;

camping at private campgrounds;

outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;

drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations; and
film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing.

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Is forgiving any interest due on tax arrears good policy or a dumb idea financially ? The city isn't exactly flush with cash these days

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020



The retail and hospitality sectors have been bleeding badly – they needed every break they could get.

For many rent and the hydro bill were the biggest nuts they had to deal with.

Many residents were finding that they were not always able to make the rent and city taxes were something they just had to put on hold.

The city jiggled the due dates on property taxes for the resident section which was a help.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward put forward a motion at a Standing Committee last week asking staff to set out what things would look like under different tax relief scenarios.

One was to set aside the policy of charging people interest on their outstanding taxes.

The Mayor argued that it just didn’t seem fare for those who were struggling to get by during the pandemic to have to pay interest on overdue tax payments. It was like holding people down financially and insisting on collecting interest on overdue taxes just so that the city could meet its financial commitments.

A little on the altruistic side but that’s part of where this Mayor comes from.

What happens then with the taxes owed the city by the two large shopping venue – Burlington Centre and Mapleview Mall.

The public learned last week that the two locations had not remitted taxes since mid-March but were expected to do so by the end of the month.

What if they decide it is just good business to hold on paying taxes and use the cash available to get their operations up to speed and pay whatever interest was due.

During the 2008 recession Burlington had a city Councillor who did just that – why shouldn’t the malls do the same thing.

Would the city forgive the interest for the large commercial operators or is this proposal to apply to everyone – the big corporate interests, the small business operations and residents?

Are there any unintended consequences lurking in that proposal.

Can’t see this one riding all that well on the stomach of the Director of Finance.

Finally, did the public have the right to know that the malls were late on their tax payments – or more correctly that they had taken advantage of a program the city put in place?

Related news story.

Tax collection dates shifted to ease the financial strain.

Pepper - Gazette shirt - no smile





Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Regional Health Unit reports on data up to the 14th.

covid virusBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020



A large part f the reason the Provincial government decided to open things up for the Region of Halton was the numbers that came out of the Public Health Unit work.

The numbers are pretty good. Data up to end of day on June 14, 2020 was released this morning.

Cases over time

COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (708 confirmed + 79 probable)

COVID-19 cases currently active among Halton residents (89 confirmed + 13 probable)

Figure 1


Fig 2

Figures 1 and 2 show the 787 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents reported by end of the day on June 14. All cases have been graphed according to their episode date, which is used to estimate the date that symptoms began. Figure 1 shows the number of new cases per day, while Figure 2 shows how cases have accumulated over time. Counts for the past 14 days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person becomes infected and when they develop symptoms, get tested and are reported as a case. Please note the large increase on April 11 is due to expanded testing and identification of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals at Mountainview Residence.

Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are individuals presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are travelers returning from an affected area, have had close contact with a confirmed case and/or lived/worked in a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, or have indeterminate test results.


Fig 3

For each day, Figure 3 shows the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, including only those cases that are not staff or residents/patients associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. Cases have been graphed according to their collection date, which is the date that a sample was taken from them to be tested for COVID-19. The graph suggests that the average number of new cases per day was highest in late March/early April, with another increase in mid-May. Counts for recent days should be interpreted with caution (indicated using the grey shaded area on the graph), since there is a delay between when a person is tested and when their test results are reported to Public Health and entered into the system.

Case demographics

cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (10% of all cases)

cases work in health care (14% of all cases)


Fig 4

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 283 cases, or 36%). 441 cases (56%) were female.

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 283 cases, or 36%). 441 cases (56%) were female.

Fig 5

Figure 5: COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 5 shows that by end of the day on June 14, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 265 cases, or 34%). Two cases with municipality information pending are not shown. Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries.

Case exposure source

Fig 6Figure 6 shows the percentage of COVID-19 cases by primary exposure category for Halton’s four municipalities and for Halton overall. For Halton overall, by end of day on June 14, 312 cases (40%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of their infection. 234 COVID-19 cases (30%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 131 (17%) were residents/patients or staff associated with an outbreak in an institutional or congregate care setting. 99 cases (13%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for the remaining 11 cases (1%). These proportions vary by municipality. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category based on information gathered during case investigation.

Case and contact follow-up

Fig 7

Figure 7 shows that 98% of Halton cases reported over the past seven days (June 8-14)

Fig 8

Figure 8: Percentage of COVID-19 community contacts reached by Public Health within one day of being reported, Halton Region, contacts identified Jun. 8-Jun. 14, 2020

Figure 7 shows that 98% of Halton cases reported over the past seven days (June 8-14) were reached by Halton Public Health within one day of being reported, which exceeds the provincial goal of 90%. Similarly, Figure 8 shows that Halton Public Health reached 100% of contacts identified over the past seven days (June 8-14) within one day, compared to the provincial goal of 90%.

Case outcomes

cases who have ever been hospitalized to date (15 listed as currently in hospital)


cases who are recovered/resolved

cases who have died to date (11 of the deceased were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak).
* Please note that the total number of deaths has decreased from 25 to 24 as there was a reporting error to Public Health that has now been corrected.

Institutional outbreaks

confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (1 is ongoing)

Figure 9: COVID-19 institutional outbreaks, by date outbreak was declared, Halton Region, Mar. 1-Jun. 14, 2020

Fig 9Figure 9 shows the 19 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in Halton institutions reported by end of the day on June 14. Institutions are defined as long-term care homes, retirement homes and hospitals. 18 of the outbreaks have resolved, and one is ongoing. Among the 19 confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, 11 (58%) have been in long-term care homes, seven (37%) have been in retirement homes and one has been in a hospital (5%).

Lab testing

Halton residents were tested for COVID-19 within the past seven days of available data (May 31-June 6).

Halton residents are known to have been tested for COVID-19 to date.

of Halton cases reported in the past week to Public Health had been tested for COVID-19 within the past two days. This is an indicator of current lab reporting timeliness.

Comparison to Ontario

total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

Figure 10: Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020

Fig 10Figure 10 shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are currently significantly different from the provincial rates for all age groups except youth aged 0-19. For example, Halton has 36.4 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, which is statistically significantly lower than the 84.1 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario overall. It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources:

Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on June 14, 2020

Halton lab data: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Number of individuals who were confirmed positive for COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing Period: 15 Jan 2020 to 6 June 2020. Received on June 8, 2020.

Ontario case count overall: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to June 14, 2020, posted on June 15, 2020 to

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes
All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of underreporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Cases are considered “currently active” if they are open in iPHIS.

Figures 1 and 2 distinguish between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and have travelled to an affected area; have had close contact with a confirmed case; and/or lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; or have indeterminate test results. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

Figures 1 and 2 use episode date, which is a field that is intended to approximate the symptom onset date for each case. It is calculated hierarchically, using symptom onset date if available; when it is not available, specimen collection date is used; if neither symptom onset nor specimen collection date are available, the lab test date is used; and finally, if none of these other dates are available, the date the case was reported to Public Health is used.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figures 1-3 may increase as cases are added from past dates as individuals become symptomatic, get tested, and their results are reported to Halton Region Public Health, as well as any past results are added due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results.

Cases are considered to be patients or residents of an institution experiencing an outbreak if they are linked to a confirmed Halton institutional outbreak in iPHIS, and they are not known to be a staff person at the institution.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc. Individuals who work in health care settings but do not provide direct care to patients (e.g. managers, cleaning staff) have not been included.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a resident/patient or staff member in an institution or congregate care setting experiencing an outbreak, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Associated with institutional or congregate care setting outbreak > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending. It is important to note that cases can have multiple exposures, and these data reflect only their primary exposure category. Numbers are relatively low, and differences between municipalities have not been assessed for statistical significance. Known cases reflect only individuals who were prioritized for testing, which means that differences between municipalities are currently difficult to ascribe to other factors.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovered/resolved, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Cases are considered to have been reached within 24 hours if their investigation start date and case reported dates in iPHIS are no more than one day apart.

Contacts are manually tracked to determine if they were reached within one day. Any contacts referred to Public Health Ontario for follow up have not been included.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals and prisons.

Lab testing data reflects only lab tests that have been assigned to Halton Region based on the methodology used by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. There are several known limitations associated with this data which result in the numbers being underestimates:
• The unit of analysis is the tested individual. Once an individual is confirmed positive, subsequent tests for that individual are excluded from the daily totals;
• The COVID-19 test results were captured in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS). The testing date represents the date of specimen collection: “observation date” in OLIS. Due to the time required for transportation and processing of specimens, it takes six days for approximately 95% of results to be finalized and reported for a given testing date. Some laboratories did not report all or part of their COVID-19 test results to OLIS. Unconsented test results were excluded;
• Daily counts less than six suppressed;
• The location of tested individuals was based upon the test recipient’s postal code (and corresponding PHU) recorded in the OHIP Registered Persons Database (RPDB) for those residing outside a long-term care (LTC) facility, and the LTC address on the OLIS test requisition for specimens collected from LTC facilities. These address assignments lead to misclassification of PHU in approximately 14% of individuals.

For daily Halton case tables and up-to-date information about how to protect yourself and others, please visit

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Mayor prepared to give up $1.65 million in possible revenue from late tax penalties.

Budget 2020 redBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020



On June 22, City Council will consider a motion brought forward by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at committee last week, to get options for cancelling penalty and interest on late tax payments until the end of the year or some earlier time frame.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in a celebratory mood.

The cost of eliminating penalty and interest is $1.65 million. Oakville has already made this decision, Halton Hills hasn’t and Milton is offering an application program to defer penalty and interest.

The City of Burlington is looking at a potential year-end negative shortfall of $3.2 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Meed Ward thanked staff for “doing everything they have done and making the tough decisions to bring that negative shortfall down from an initial $18 million hole through a combination of cost control, reserves meant for fluctuations in revenue like we are experiencing with COVID-19, and other measures.”

Committee unanimously approved a motion to direct the City’s chief financial officer to come back in September 2020 to present at Corporate Service and Strategy Standing Committee (CSSRA) a 2021 Budget Framework Report with budget timelines as we look to approve that budget in Q1 2021.

“We know times are difficult for many residents and businesses who are having difficulty paying their taxes” said Meed Ward.  “We need to explore ways to assist.”

The City has already cancelled penalty and interest on tax until June 30, and also delayed the dates of the next installments to Aug. 20 and Oct. 20. Final tax bills will be mailed out in July.

Property taxes are the most important revenue source for the city to ensure we continue to provide essential services for residents of the City of Burlington during these challenging circumstances. Taxpayers are encouraged to make payments where possible during these unique times.

Meed Ward explained that: “For this reason, myself and fellow mayors across Ontario and Canada continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to step up and provide relief funding for municipalities. I encourage you to reach out to your MPs and MPPs and let them know your City needs financial relief so that you can continue to make use of the services and programming you need in Burlington.

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Reader clearly doesn't understand what media does and doesn't do.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2020



We received the following over the weekend.

We removed the name of both the writer and the organization that she was writing about.

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.

“Please investigate xxxxxx reak estate Burlington disrupting established neighbourhoods, intimidating residents and building huge two story houses with six foot wooden fences over looking smaller one story homes, planting “neighbours” working as real estate agents living in old neighbourhoods. This company is invasive and needs to stop its present activity.

“Can Burlington Gazette research the above to see who and the corporation in Burlington is allowing the above to take place. How can a resident once again take control of private property. I said no to the six foot fence but the owner builder went ahead anyway! I want to have a neighbour(s)!!! There is no privacy in my back yard or my house because this new two story house is so close.

“Do not use my name, my email address or any identifying indication of this writer in your online write-ups or published articles.”

This is not Burlington at its best.

There is nothing to investigate but there is a citizen who doesn’t have the courage of her convictions.  We get several of these a week.  There are readers who don’t understand what media does and doesn’t do.

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Burlington to open up to Stage 2 on Friday

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020



Premier Dog Ford will announce later today that the following parts of the province will move to Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Lakeshore looking east to Brant north side

You will be hard pressed to get a seat this weekend – city moves to Stage 2 – things open up.

Informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus, the latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:

• Durham Region Health Department;
• Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
Halton Region Health Department;
• Hamilton Public Health Services;
• Lambton Health Unit;
• Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
• York Region Public Health Services.

These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health  advice.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Premier Ford. “With the public health trends improving day by day across the province, I am hopeful all regions of Ontario will enter Stage 2 very soon. But we must remain on our guard to prevent any potential surge or secondary wave by continuing to follow the sound advice of our public health officials.”

The following regions will remain in Stage 1 under ongoing assessment until trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 2:

  • Peel Public Health;
  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

“Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus,” said Minister Elliott. “As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it’s never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3.”

Public health remains the government’s top priority. All Ontarians must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID‑19, get tested.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

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City hall has been adapting on a daily, sometimes hourly basis as the rules from the province change.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2020



Audit Jones - said no

Sheila M. Jones, Executive Director, Strategy, Accountability

In a report to Council Sheila M. Jones, Executive Director, Strategy, Accountability, explained that “the need to re-design and to be agile to respond to the time-sensitive nature of some decisions, this report serves as a template for bringing decisions and information to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee. As such, it is beneficial to provide an overview of how and what is expected in this report format.”

Jones was talking about the Service Redesign that gets upgraded almost every day. By service she means the services the city delivers to the citizens of the city – something that went through a radical change when the province declared a State of Emergency and used the power behind that legislation to order that municipalities limit severely the opportunities the members of the public have to congregate the city found itself having to lay off most of the part time staff and move most of the full time staff out of city hall and have them work from hone using ZOOM and their cell phones as their method of communicating.

In the early stages, mid March to near the end of April it was hectic and a close to 24/7 operation.

There wasn’t much news coming out of city hall, some city Councillors felt very much out of the loop.

City Manager Tim Commisso was living a constant round of meetings with the email volume almost unmanageable. The Gazette was able to get through to Commisso on a few occasions.

As the calendar rolled into May we began to see some stability and staff were a little more comfortable with the way they now had to do business.

The public wasn’t really aware with what senior city staff had to deal with – the change was relentless – they rarely knew was was coming at them next.

There were serious financial pressures building up – huge drops in revenue and expenses piling up at the same time.

Parks were closed; schools were closed. The streets were open and the public was asked to yes get out for some exercise but don’t congregate while out for a walk and stay at least six feet away from other people.

Pharmaceuticals were not rationed but all you could get was a one month supply. You had to keep your dog on a leash – which turned out to be very difficult to enforce.

The number of new Covid19 infections in Burlington are the lowest in the Region and the deaths at Long Term Care facilities were low – relative to the rest of the province.

Commisso had to not only manage his own time and energy but he had to keep a very close eye on his senior team to ensure that they are at least coping.

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyesIn an interview with the Gazette Commisso said “I have a conversation with each of them frequently on how they are doing personally and listen very closely for signs that the stress might be getting to them.”

Commisso doesn’t talk about how he is coping. At times he does sound a little tired and he surely must wonder if taking on the task of serving as city Mayor was the smartest career move he ever made.

Burlington is now waiting hopefully for the province to announce that the GTAH – Greater Toronto Area including Hamilton can move into phase 2 which will allow, hopefully, some restaurants to open, and for more in the way of city services to be opened.

The Summer Camp program for kids was cancelled and Parks and Recreation is working through some ideas for what they will be able to offer once the province moves the city into Phase 2.

Thus the reporting template that Jones introduced on how the Emergency Coordination Group is going to get updates to Council.

It has been a hectic three months for this group of people; many have been pushed to the limit and worked well beyond an 8 hour day.

Vacations are coming up – Commisso knows that his people need that time off – but vacations are dependent on when the need to constantly adjust the programs being offered slows down a little.

Getting into Phase 2 is essential – limiting the number of Covid19 infections is vital.

And at this time in this world vital trumps essential.

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