COVID-19 UPDATE March 25, 2020

Hello Ward 6 –

The photo attached to this update was taken today on my morning walk in the Nutana neighbourhood, and I can’t stop thinking about how such small gestures amplify the spirit of community.

Residents of Saskatoon continue to inspire as they rise to this challenge in ways that are truly exemplary of the best in us all.  Offers to pick up groceries, prescriptions, shovel walks or reach out via phone to strangers who may be lonely remind me again how lucky we are to live in this city.  Thank you to everyone who is stepping up.

As of today, we do not have clear answers about the timeline to defeat COVID-19.  What we do have, are exceptional teams of medical, health and emergency professionals working with counterparts around the country and the world to make sure we have what we need on the medical side; all levels of government and community stakeholders working collaboratively on best practices for public policy; and we also have all of you. Each one of us has a role to play in defeating the pandemic, and our actions will have a direct impact on how we get through this – and how fast.

City Hall continues to work around the clock in partnership with the province, Emergency Measures Organization (EMO), University of Saskatchewan and community partners to help navigate our way ahead. Here is a reminder of the most important things we can all do to help:

  • WASH YOUR HANDS – 20 seconds of soap and water go a long way to avoiding the virus.
  • STAY HOME – There are many who are risking their health on our behalf to defeat it. The best thing we can do for them and our loved ones, is stay home as much as possible.
  • PHYSICAL DISTANCE (also called Social Distancing) – We know you have to go out sometimes for groceries, prescriptions or a physical workplace. Wherever you go, please try to stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
  • GO OUTSIDE – Staying well is also an important part of the effort. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk or a run.  It’s helpful for your physical and mental health. Just keep moving and stay 2 metres away.

*Note: Staying away from others does not include the people you live with, as long as they are not showing signs of the virus. Going out as a couple or a family is great. Just keep your distance from others.

ROLES

The federal and provincial governments take the lead on Canada’s response, and the provincial response to COVID-19.  The authority for many of the proclamations we have seen rest with the Province and the Chief Medical Health Officer.

The City’s current efforts are focused on three main areas:

  • We are working with the province, our partners, and stakeholders to curb the spread of COVID-19 to “flatten the curve”.
  • We are focused on ensuring the continuity of essential services that the City of Saskatoon provides to our residents, including Water, Power, Sewer, Transit, Police, Fire and Waste.
  • We are preparing for the aftermath, to ensure Saskatoon is well- positioned to lead the recovery when this is over.

COUNCIL ACTIONS

In addition to health concerns, there is also a very real economic impact of the restrictions implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19.  City Council has daily conference call briefings to stay up to date.  We do not have the authority and options that federal and provincial governments have.  However, City Council held an emergency Council meeting to pass relief measures that are available to those who need them:

  • Suspension of utility disconnections until September 30, to ensure residents all have safe, running water
  • Suspension of late payment charges on all utility accounts until September 30
  • Allowing property owners an additional 3 months (to September 30) to pay their bill without incurring any penalties on their taxes (*includes business properties)

We still require you to pay your bills, but these measures are designed to help in the short term.

Parking

Residential parking limits and Residential Parking Zones will not be enforced until further notice.  Also, there is no cost to park in City of Saskatoon on-street paid parking zones.  We want you to be able to stay at home or pick up an essential item without getting a ticket.  (Parking restrictions such as “no parking in front of fire hydrants”, etc will still be enforced.)

Playgrounds

Based on best practices from other jurisdictions and recommendations from health officials, Saskatoon playgrounds are being closed to the public.  I know this one is tough on many families, but please remember it is temporary.

Transit

This is a core service that is essential for some residents, and the service is only designed for essential travel at this time.  For the protection of our drivers and residents – only rear door entry is allowed. You must keep a safe distance from the driver – which means we are not currently collecting fares.  Transit schedules are being adjusted to basic service.

City Hall

All city buildings are closed to public access.  We are still providing essential public service.  Please call or use our website for services.

Visit the City’s COVID-19 webpage for information on civic services and the City’s response:

READ MORE

COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESPONSE

The provincial government’s website is a good resource.  It has information on what is happening with COVID-19, suggestions on how to prepare yourself, what to do if you have been travelling or feel symptoms, how to self-assess, etc. Visit the provincial website for more information:

READ MORE

If you have symptoms – please don’t automatically go to emergency.  We don’t want to spread the disease in the waiting room.  Use the self-assessment tool on the provincial website and/or call HEALTHLINE 811 for advice for how to handle your symptoms. If medical treatment is required they will tell you how to safely access the health care system.  *Only call 911 in an emergency.

FLATTEN THE CURVE

What does it mean to flatten the curve, and why is it so important? Visit this page for an excellent explanation and demonstration of why we need to flatten the curve:

READ MORE

To find out how to flatten the curve, go to the provincial website:

READ MORE

We CAN do this, Saskatoon – and rise like never before.

Be good to each other and stay well,

Cynthia

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