Hamilton's cautious approach to reopening the city

News May 05, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As other jurisdictions carefully reopen businesses and government services, Hamilton officials are taking a cautious approach on how to balance protecting the public’s safety while still kick-starting a moribund economy.

“I’d like to open up yesterday,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, during his May 4 virtual news briefing. “We are all anxious to get back to some semblance of normalcy. What we need is to ensure if we do anything like that, that we don’t exacerbate the problem and cause an additional spike in the (coronavirus) cases.”

The provincial government allowed the easing of some restrictions for garden centres, auto repair businesses, and the reopening of community gardens this week. But with the public chomping at the bit to get out of their homes after more than six weeks of isolation — especially with Mother’s Day approaching — officials remain vigilant in urging people to remain calm and keep following the emergency measures.

Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff have been examining how to reopen businesses, city facilities and provide services in a safe way without impacting both the public and staff. The city has restarted modified leaf and yard pickup and it has allowed the horticultural department to reopen the Gage Park greenhouse and start planting flowers on traffic islands.

“It will be a longer and more complicated process than closing down the city,” said Johnson.

Hamilton’s emergency orders to keep all city facilities closed continues until May 25. The city has also cancelled any community event permits until July 4, which means the cancellation of various popular events, including Victoria Day fireworks, as well as Canada Day celebrations.

Other jurisdictions are accelerating the reopening of their economies. For instance, Quebec is allowing some retail stores to open their doors immediately and elementary schools can start opening up starting May 11.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province may be “getting close” to opening parks and allowing more curbside pickup retail options.

Other provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan are allowing certain businesses to reopen, including hair salons and restaurants. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta have taken initial steps toward easing public health measures, like physical distancing and allowing certain public outdoor spaces to reopen.

In the United States, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Hawaii and Alaska have started reopening their economies, while in California, the beaches in the southern part of the state were packed with people.

There have been almost 70,000 deaths and over 1,200,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States.

The good news from the city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson is Hamilton is “over the peak” of the coronavirus cases and “coming down the other side.”

One indication is that, in March, cases were doubling every five days. Now, they are doubling every 50 days, an indication, but not conclusive, that the pandemic is easing.

As of May 5, there are a total of 451 confirmed positive cases in Hamilton with 287 cases resolved. There have been 21 deaths.

Richardson still urged the public to stay at home during Mother’s Day and, if possible, visit with relatives through a video chat, rather than have an in-person visit.

The positive health news would seem to provide Eisenberger and other city officials an impetus to work toward establishing a plan to reopen Hamilton. Councillors at their April 29 meeting approved creating a term of reference for a task force on economic recovery. The task force is expected to be composed of various stakeholders, including business and political leaders, as well as public health officials.

“It’s going to be a very strategic process,” said Eisenberger. “Once we get the terms of reference, we can have a broader discussion about what should or shouldn’t be incorporated.”

It would also be helpful, said Eisenberger, if the province’s reopening plan includes all jurisdictions, rather than to allow a hodgepodge of rules and creating an unequal playing field.

“I would prefer to have a collective, regional approach,” he said. “That’s the right way to go. If we don’t, we will have a mixed bag of approaches.”

Hamilton balancing safety with economic benefit as it studies how to reopen city

News May 05, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As other jurisdictions carefully reopen businesses and government services, Hamilton officials are taking a cautious approach on how to balance protecting the public’s safety while still kick-starting a moribund economy.

“I’d like to open up yesterday,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, during his May 4 virtual news briefing. “We are all anxious to get back to some semblance of normalcy. What we need is to ensure if we do anything like that, that we don’t exacerbate the problem and cause an additional spike in the (coronavirus) cases.”

The provincial government allowed the easing of some restrictions for garden centres, auto repair businesses, and the reopening of community gardens this week. But with the public chomping at the bit to get out of their homes after more than six weeks of isolation — especially with Mother’s Day approaching — officials remain vigilant in urging people to remain calm and keep following the emergency measures.

Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff have been examining how to reopen businesses, city facilities and provide services in a safe way without impacting both the public and staff. The city has restarted modified leaf and yard pickup and it has allowed the horticultural department to reopen the Gage Park greenhouse and start planting flowers on traffic islands.

Related Content

“It will be a longer and more complicated process than closing down the city,” said Johnson.

Hamilton’s emergency orders to keep all city facilities closed continues until May 25. The city has also cancelled any community event permits until July 4, which means the cancellation of various popular events, including Victoria Day fireworks, as well as Canada Day celebrations.

Other jurisdictions are accelerating the reopening of their economies. For instance, Quebec is allowing some retail stores to open their doors immediately and elementary schools can start opening up starting May 11.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province may be “getting close” to opening parks and allowing more curbside pickup retail options.

Other provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan are allowing certain businesses to reopen, including hair salons and restaurants. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta have taken initial steps toward easing public health measures, like physical distancing and allowing certain public outdoor spaces to reopen.

In the United States, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Hawaii and Alaska have started reopening their economies, while in California, the beaches in the southern part of the state were packed with people.

There have been almost 70,000 deaths and over 1,200,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States.

The good news from the city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson is Hamilton is “over the peak” of the coronavirus cases and “coming down the other side.”

One indication is that, in March, cases were doubling every five days. Now, they are doubling every 50 days, an indication, but not conclusive, that the pandemic is easing.

As of May 5, there are a total of 451 confirmed positive cases in Hamilton with 287 cases resolved. There have been 21 deaths.

Richardson still urged the public to stay at home during Mother’s Day and, if possible, visit with relatives through a video chat, rather than have an in-person visit.

The positive health news would seem to provide Eisenberger and other city officials an impetus to work toward establishing a plan to reopen Hamilton. Councillors at their April 29 meeting approved creating a term of reference for a task force on economic recovery. The task force is expected to be composed of various stakeholders, including business and political leaders, as well as public health officials.

“It’s going to be a very strategic process,” said Eisenberger. “Once we get the terms of reference, we can have a broader discussion about what should or shouldn’t be incorporated.”

It would also be helpful, said Eisenberger, if the province’s reopening plan includes all jurisdictions, rather than to allow a hodgepodge of rules and creating an unequal playing field.

“I would prefer to have a collective, regional approach,” he said. “That’s the right way to go. If we don’t, we will have a mixed bag of approaches.”

Hamilton balancing safety with economic benefit as it studies how to reopen city

News May 05, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As other jurisdictions carefully reopen businesses and government services, Hamilton officials are taking a cautious approach on how to balance protecting the public’s safety while still kick-starting a moribund economy.

“I’d like to open up yesterday,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, during his May 4 virtual news briefing. “We are all anxious to get back to some semblance of normalcy. What we need is to ensure if we do anything like that, that we don’t exacerbate the problem and cause an additional spike in the (coronavirus) cases.”

The provincial government allowed the easing of some restrictions for garden centres, auto repair businesses, and the reopening of community gardens this week. But with the public chomping at the bit to get out of their homes after more than six weeks of isolation — especially with Mother’s Day approaching — officials remain vigilant in urging people to remain calm and keep following the emergency measures.

Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre director Paul Johnson said staff have been examining how to reopen businesses, city facilities and provide services in a safe way without impacting both the public and staff. The city has restarted modified leaf and yard pickup and it has allowed the horticultural department to reopen the Gage Park greenhouse and start planting flowers on traffic islands.

Related Content

“It will be a longer and more complicated process than closing down the city,” said Johnson.

Hamilton’s emergency orders to keep all city facilities closed continues until May 25. The city has also cancelled any community event permits until July 4, which means the cancellation of various popular events, including Victoria Day fireworks, as well as Canada Day celebrations.

Other jurisdictions are accelerating the reopening of their economies. For instance, Quebec is allowing some retail stores to open their doors immediately and elementary schools can start opening up starting May 11.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province may be “getting close” to opening parks and allowing more curbside pickup retail options.

Other provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan are allowing certain businesses to reopen, including hair salons and restaurants. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta have taken initial steps toward easing public health measures, like physical distancing and allowing certain public outdoor spaces to reopen.

In the United States, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Hawaii and Alaska have started reopening their economies, while in California, the beaches in the southern part of the state were packed with people.

There have been almost 70,000 deaths and over 1,200,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States.

The good news from the city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson is Hamilton is “over the peak” of the coronavirus cases and “coming down the other side.”

One indication is that, in March, cases were doubling every five days. Now, they are doubling every 50 days, an indication, but not conclusive, that the pandemic is easing.

As of May 5, there are a total of 451 confirmed positive cases in Hamilton with 287 cases resolved. There have been 21 deaths.

Richardson still urged the public to stay at home during Mother’s Day and, if possible, visit with relatives through a video chat, rather than have an in-person visit.

The positive health news would seem to provide Eisenberger and other city officials an impetus to work toward establishing a plan to reopen Hamilton. Councillors at their April 29 meeting approved creating a term of reference for a task force on economic recovery. The task force is expected to be composed of various stakeholders, including business and political leaders, as well as public health officials.

“It’s going to be a very strategic process,” said Eisenberger. “Once we get the terms of reference, we can have a broader discussion about what should or shouldn’t be incorporated.”

It would also be helpful, said Eisenberger, if the province’s reopening plan includes all jurisdictions, rather than to allow a hodgepodge of rules and creating an unequal playing field.

“I would prefer to have a collective, regional approach,” he said. “That’s the right way to go. If we don’t, we will have a mixed bag of approaches.”