Mayor tells citizens meeting in groups that this has to stop. For those who are returning to Canada - go home and stay home for 14 days

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said yesterday that:

Halton Region announced their decision to proceed with the Declaration of an Emergency for Halton Region.

Mayor Meed Ward

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The Region has already activated the Halton Region Emergency Response Plan and the Health Department’s Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan and has been responding to the COVID-19 situation for many weeks. I applaud this decision and the message it sends to our community about the urgent need to respond to the COVID-19 situation and follow the advice of our leaders and healthcare experts.

The City of Oakville has also made their own declaration today, adding to the growing list of cities in the GTA and across Canada who are doing so.

In Burlington, we have still seen groups of people congregating in public places, visiting the homes of others, and engaged in unnecessary activities with other people. We are hearing of people returning from out of country trips and going straight to work or to run errands, and not self-isolating as required for 14 days.

I cannot stress this enough: it needs to stop.

Our health and well-being depends on it, as does the health and well-being of our healthcare workers and first responders and their ability to take care of us should we need it. As our Prime Minister said earlier today, if we do not see improved behaviour across the country, additional measures will need to be put in place to ensure compliance.

Yesterday’s announcement of the closure of additional non-essential businesses by the Province was a further step in limiting public contact and flattening the curve of COVID-19.

The list is now available on their website along with a 1-800 number (coming soon) for businesses to call with related questions.

The list of what is considered essential is far more extensive than I expected, leaving far too many businesses open, particularly public-facing businesses. If you can close, please do. If you can deploy your operations so staff can work at home, please do. If staff have to come to the office, maintain 6-ft physical distance and follow the frequent and thorough cleaning and handwashing advice we have heard from healthcare experts to keep everyone safe.

I and other Mayors I have spoken to today are considering taking additional steps to better protect our community and encourage more businesses to close voluntarily to better protect themselves, their employees and the public.

We have many amazing business owners in Burlington who have already voluntarily made the decision to close their doors for the time being out of consideration for the health and wellness of their employees and customers. I am grateful for their willingness to do so.

While only the Province’s list of business closures is enforceable by police, I continue to encourage Burlington’s businesses to use common sense and good judgement and consider if they can close for the near future without impacting access to truly essential products and services for our community.

The City of Burlington continues to provide essential services as we announced last week and there is no change to that directive. With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable.

Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at or visit

We are very pleased to hear today that the Province of Ontario has made the decision to provide immediate electricity rate relief for families, farmers and small businesses paying time-of-use rates amid this crisis. This reduction will help offset higher consumption as more people stay home, and further alleviate some of the financial challenges many people are facing right now.

Earlier today after a telephone meeting of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario, my fellow Mayors sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario thanking them for their leadership through this difficult time and encouraging them to take additional measures to limit movement and enable people to stay home. We requested the Federal Government step up their fiscal response to support provinces and leverage fiscal tools that no other level of government in Canada has. We also called on the Government of Ontario to map out a clear strategy to support municipalities, whose finances are being severely impacted by this unprecedented crisis.

I want to remind our community that we are hosting a public telephone town hall Thursday evening at 6:45pm, and I am grateful to have MP Karina Gould and MPP Jane McKenna joining us, along with Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie and Superintendent Anthony Odoardi of the Halton Region Police Service, members of your city council and the city’s leadership team. More details can be found on our website.

Our top priority at the City of Burlington remains the health and well-being of our residents. We are committed to keeping you informed in clear and timely manner and encourage you to stay updated via the City’s dedicated website. Additional information on all COVID-19 related matters can be found at the Halton Region website, the Ministry of Health of Ontario’s website, and the Federal Government’s website.

Stay healthy, stay home, and be kind to one another.

The Gazette would urge the city administration to find a way to get Service Burlington back on line with people answering the telephones – there is a need for sensible answers to the questions people have.

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4 comments to Mayor tells citizens meeting in groups that this has to stop. For those who are returning to Canada – go home and stay home for 14 days

  • Helen Donohoe

    The language used should be a lot firmer and stronger e.g., “It needs to stop” The use of “it” implies some kind of third party involvement when there is none. “You” has been sanitized out of this, thus removing responsibility. Replace with something like “Stop ……..right now” or “You/everybody must stop…….immediately.” “You are not allowed to………”

  • Anne and David Marsden

    Phillip you echo our thoughts …Gazette – you are right we should have a means to ask Service questions by phone Why the Mayor does not consider that essential in these times is beyond a common sense approach to serving the residents in these peculiar times She has asked the Province to stop the clock on planning applications when she has the means to have the city deal with whatever business she wants to when she wants to.thanks to the emergency legislation put in place but wants more.

  • Fred Hendriks

    I am very pleased with the leadership at all levels of government especially from our Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. In my 30 years in Public Health I have never been involved in a Pandemic as serious as COVID-19. We all have to follow the recommendations from our Medical Officer of Health before our health system we all take for granted will be overwhelmed.
    I hope everyone thanks the front line workers in your grocery ,drug stores, and medical offices and hospital for risking their health for the common good to help you.

  • Phillip Wooster

    This true emergency–the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetime, puts us into uncharted territory. Leaders are doing their best to respond to this emergency and I believe Doug Ford has done an excellent job todate. As I noted in another post, it easy to second-guess the businesses that were deemed essential and I certainly hope MMW’s criticisms were not politically motivated. I believe that Ford will make adjustments as the need arises just as I note he has done so with school closures, originally slated to reopen on April 5 but now closed as the crisis has deepened.

    I think MMW should reflect on her own actions. She has closed Lowville Park but left Spencer Smith open–same problems, same risk profile but one park is closed and one remains open. Curious? Or not.

    And while both federal and provincial leaders are responding quickly to the financial realities we all face, I note the mayor and council seem to be dragging their feet on the property tax issue.