Hamilton preparing for post-coronavirus era with reopening plan

News May 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton is gradually restarting services and reopening some facilities, but officials warn the city isn’t going back to the pre-coronavirus era yet, if ever.

“This is a very slow and steady movement towards not what was life like back in January and February,” said Emergency Operations Centre Director Paul Johnson. “(This is) what we are calling the new reality because the reality is certain services will remain in modified form for a long time.”

Hamilton announced May 20 that leaf and yard waste collection will resume May 25, and dog parks, boat launches, tennis facilities and golf courses have either opened or will soon be able to welcome people. King’s Forest Golf Club opened on May 20 with people quickly filling the tee times. The Chedoke courses — the Beddoe and Martin — are scheduled to open May 23 and 24.

Johnson said the city will allow some amenities in city parks to be used, such as basketball nets.

“We expect to see single people and parents with a child shooting hoops in parks,” said Johnson. “People using some of these amenities, we want that to happen for the good of our mental health.”

But officials are warning groups of more than five people are still prohibited and will be subjected to fines under the province’s emergency orders.

The city is following Ontario’s Stage 1 reopening strategy that began May 19, that also included allowing non-essential retail operations with street access to reopen, along with pet grooming, medical facilities and even library services — although Hamilton’s libraries continue to be closed as officials study how to allow people in a safe environment.

But Johnson, during the May 20 virtual town hall meeting, said a report on how city services will reopen will be presented to councillors May 27.

Johnson said the report will examine “how we are going to ensure the safety of our staff and individuals who interact with our services on a daily basis. What (residents) can expect from our staff.

“And what types of service will come back on during these stages.”

No dates will be attached to the Hamilton Reopen document, he said.

The province has identified a three-stage approach to reopening the province, but few details have been provided as to when and at what point the stages will be initiated.

Johnson said staff are reviewing how to operate summer day camps, reopen recreation facilities, allow swimming lessons, fitness and yoga classes, and rent facilities to the public.

“These are very much decisions that are going to take some time,” he said.

Johnson said how the city will reopen its services will be dictated by the coronavirus data and public health recommendations.

“I know there is a whole bunch of hope and pent-up energy that things will go back to what it was,” said Johnson. “And our message will be that this is a long time coming and, in some cases, we are unclear when that will come.”

That discussion about how the city will operate its services will also include how to oversee long-term care facilities, which the pandemic has revealed to be a model that needs fixing, he said. The city will also have to review how it provides for the homeless.

Johnson said he has been told the city is going too slow on reopening services, while there are others who are saying Hamilton is moving too fast.

“I even hear from people we are doing it right,” said Johnson. “We have to be cognizant of the fact if we wanted to do certain things, we would have to wait for the province.”

Hamilton residents should prepare for 'new reality' of how city will operate in coronavirus era

News May 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton is gradually restarting services and reopening some facilities, but officials warn the city isn’t going back to the pre-coronavirus era yet, if ever.

“This is a very slow and steady movement towards not what was life like back in January and February,” said Emergency Operations Centre Director Paul Johnson. “(This is) what we are calling the new reality because the reality is certain services will remain in modified form for a long time.”

Hamilton announced May 20 that leaf and yard waste collection will resume May 25, and dog parks, boat launches, tennis facilities and golf courses have either opened or will soon be able to welcome people. King’s Forest Golf Club opened on May 20 with people quickly filling the tee times. The Chedoke courses — the Beddoe and Martin — are scheduled to open May 23 and 24.

Johnson said the city will allow some amenities in city parks to be used, such as basketball nets.

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“We expect to see single people and parents with a child shooting hoops in parks,” said Johnson. “People using some of these amenities, we want that to happen for the good of our mental health.”

But officials are warning groups of more than five people are still prohibited and will be subjected to fines under the province’s emergency orders.

The city is following Ontario’s Stage 1 reopening strategy that began May 19, that also included allowing non-essential retail operations with street access to reopen, along with pet grooming, medical facilities and even library services — although Hamilton’s libraries continue to be closed as officials study how to allow people in a safe environment.

But Johnson, during the May 20 virtual town hall meeting, said a report on how city services will reopen will be presented to councillors May 27.

Johnson said the report will examine “how we are going to ensure the safety of our staff and individuals who interact with our services on a daily basis. What (residents) can expect from our staff.

“And what types of service will come back on during these stages.”

No dates will be attached to the Hamilton Reopen document, he said.

The province has identified a three-stage approach to reopening the province, but few details have been provided as to when and at what point the stages will be initiated.

Johnson said staff are reviewing how to operate summer day camps, reopen recreation facilities, allow swimming lessons, fitness and yoga classes, and rent facilities to the public.

“These are very much decisions that are going to take some time,” he said.

Johnson said how the city will reopen its services will be dictated by the coronavirus data and public health recommendations.

“I know there is a whole bunch of hope and pent-up energy that things will go back to what it was,” said Johnson. “And our message will be that this is a long time coming and, in some cases, we are unclear when that will come.”

That discussion about how the city will operate its services will also include how to oversee long-term care facilities, which the pandemic has revealed to be a model that needs fixing, he said. The city will also have to review how it provides for the homeless.

Johnson said he has been told the city is going too slow on reopening services, while there are others who are saying Hamilton is moving too fast.

“I even hear from people we are doing it right,” said Johnson. “We have to be cognizant of the fact if we wanted to do certain things, we would have to wait for the province.”

Hamilton residents should prepare for 'new reality' of how city will operate in coronavirus era

News May 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton is gradually restarting services and reopening some facilities, but officials warn the city isn’t going back to the pre-coronavirus era yet, if ever.

“This is a very slow and steady movement towards not what was life like back in January and February,” said Emergency Operations Centre Director Paul Johnson. “(This is) what we are calling the new reality because the reality is certain services will remain in modified form for a long time.”

Hamilton announced May 20 that leaf and yard waste collection will resume May 25, and dog parks, boat launches, tennis facilities and golf courses have either opened or will soon be able to welcome people. King’s Forest Golf Club opened on May 20 with people quickly filling the tee times. The Chedoke courses — the Beddoe and Martin — are scheduled to open May 23 and 24.

Johnson said the city will allow some amenities in city parks to be used, such as basketball nets.

Related Content

“We expect to see single people and parents with a child shooting hoops in parks,” said Johnson. “People using some of these amenities, we want that to happen for the good of our mental health.”

But officials are warning groups of more than five people are still prohibited and will be subjected to fines under the province’s emergency orders.

The city is following Ontario’s Stage 1 reopening strategy that began May 19, that also included allowing non-essential retail operations with street access to reopen, along with pet grooming, medical facilities and even library services — although Hamilton’s libraries continue to be closed as officials study how to allow people in a safe environment.

But Johnson, during the May 20 virtual town hall meeting, said a report on how city services will reopen will be presented to councillors May 27.

Johnson said the report will examine “how we are going to ensure the safety of our staff and individuals who interact with our services on a daily basis. What (residents) can expect from our staff.

“And what types of service will come back on during these stages.”

No dates will be attached to the Hamilton Reopen document, he said.

The province has identified a three-stage approach to reopening the province, but few details have been provided as to when and at what point the stages will be initiated.

Johnson said staff are reviewing how to operate summer day camps, reopen recreation facilities, allow swimming lessons, fitness and yoga classes, and rent facilities to the public.

“These are very much decisions that are going to take some time,” he said.

Johnson said how the city will reopen its services will be dictated by the coronavirus data and public health recommendations.

“I know there is a whole bunch of hope and pent-up energy that things will go back to what it was,” said Johnson. “And our message will be that this is a long time coming and, in some cases, we are unclear when that will come.”

That discussion about how the city will operate its services will also include how to oversee long-term care facilities, which the pandemic has revealed to be a model that needs fixing, he said. The city will also have to review how it provides for the homeless.

Johnson said he has been told the city is going too slow on reopening services, while there are others who are saying Hamilton is moving too fast.

“I even hear from people we are doing it right,” said Johnson. “We have to be cognizant of the fact if we wanted to do certain things, we would have to wait for the province.”