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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The following page contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19. The questions are listed in no particular order. The list will be updated as new questions are received by the Town. To submit a COVID-19 related question, please email: covid-19inquiries@thebluemountains.ca

Yes. As of March 25, 2020, Mayor Alar Soever has declared a State of Emergency for the Town of The Blue Mountains in accordance with Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The decision was made in conjunction with the Town’s leadership team and Emergency Control Group in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the community.

An emergency is defined under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as “a situation, or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise”  [Section 1, definition of an emergency].

An “emergency” is a legal declaration and does not indicate that the municipality has lost control. An emergency declaration provides an opportunity to highlight action being taken under the municipal Emergency Response Plan.

The declaration of an emergency provides the Head of Council with certain tools to address the situation including, but not limited to, those listed below.

General and Government

  • Section 4 (1) permits a head of council to “take such action and make such orders as he or she considers necessary and are not contrary to law” during an emergency.
  • Some situations may require extraordinary measures be taken or expenditures be made to maintain or restore essential services. A declaration of emergency may allow a head of council to expend funds outside of his or her spending resolutions and/or the regular approval process of the municipality.
  • Section 4 (1) permits the head of council to “take such action and make such orders as he or she considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan.” Section 13 (3) empowers a municipal council to “make an agreement with the council of any other municipality or with any person for the provision of any personnel, service, equipment or material during an emergency.”

Yes, Town facilities were closed to the public effective Monday, March 16, 2020. The closure of municipal facilities to the public has been extended until Monday, May 4, 2020 to ensure and encourage physical distancing.

The facilities included within the closure are:

  • Town Hall, Beaver Valley Community Centre, Craigleith Community Centre, Ravenna Hall, the Landfill Site, Tomahawk Golf Course and Recreational Area, and The Blue Mountains Public Library

In addition, in accordance with Provincial Orders all amenities on Town property including, but not limited to, playground structures, athletic fields, tennis courts, dog park, benches, viewing areas and the skateboard park are closed to the public until further notice. Basically, if its something you touch or promotes contact with others, it is closed.

Public notices have been posted at all closed sites, reminding residents that public health recommendations must be maintained, including physical distancing.

Yes, all Town services remain operational at this time.

The Town of The Blue Mountains would like to assure residents and visitors that all critical and essential municipal services will continue to operate as normal.

Town staff are available by phone (519-599-3131) and by email during regular business hours (Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm).

In addition, a variety of services are available online 24/7 and can be accessed by visiting the online services page on the Town website.

Although the Blue Mountains Public Library is physically closed to the public, programs and services are being provided virtually. Please check the Blue Mountains Public Library website for more information: www.thebluemountainslibrary.ca/.

To help provide clarity, a comprehensive list and maps which outlines the jurisdiction and operational status of all parks, trails, green spaces and natural areas has been created. To view the list, please visit: https://www.thebluemountains.ca/covid-19-open-and-closed.cfm

To be clear, parks that are open are open for ‘walk throughs’ only. A walkthrough is considered walking, running or moving through a park without stopping. You cannot loiter, use a bench, use a picnic table, use playground equipment, or use town owned parks for any purpose other than for walking or passing through.

Walking your dog is permitted, but please ensure that dogs remain on a leash at all times. Please also follow poop and scoop etiquette.

Public washrooms remain closed and garbage receptacles are limited.

It is important to understand that the Provincial Orders are still in force and effect for Town owned parks that are open. For more information, visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/emergency-information.

The Town’s By-law Enforcement Department and the Ontario Provincial Police will be actively monitoring all closed areas. To report an Emergency Order violation, please contact the the Town By-Law Department by calling 519-599-3131 ext. 249. The phone number is monitored 24/7.

The Town has also enhanced patrols of Town owned properties with the addition of Community Services staff providing patrols seven days a week.

No, the Town landfill / waste disposal site is closed to the public.

Staff will be providing a plan shortly to have the landfill re-opened in a modified manner to ensure proper physical distancing.

The Town’s curbside waste collection schedule continues to operate as normal. Garbage bag tags are still required. Yard waste collection has started early and will run from April 14 to May 28, 2020. Residents should safely store collected or additional waste on their property until the Landfill re-opens.

For more information, please download the Town’s Waste Resource App (available through the App Store), or visit the Solid Waste page on the Town’s website to review requirements for curbside garbage collection https://www.thebluemountains.ca/solid-waste.cfm.

As an alternate method of removing garbage, you can consider contacting a waste removal or waste bin company. Waste companies will continue to have access to waste disposal. In addition, if you have a critical need for waste disposal, some private transfer stations (i.e.: Miller Waste in Owen Sound) have hours for public drop off.

Town staff are available by phone (519-599-3131) and by email during regular business hours (Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm). To email Town staff, please visit the staff directory and use the online contact forms.

For COVID-19 specific questions, the Town has created a dedicated email address: covid-19inquiries@thebluemountains.ca. The email address is being actively monitored by Town staff and all inquiries will receive a response within two business days.

Yes, you may use your property as a place to enjoy time with your family. In regards to having beverages that may contain alcohol, these rules continue to be subject to normal alcohol drinking laws.

The Town encourages all residents to stay home, and to avoid physical interaction with people who don’t live in your home. We recognize your need to go out from time to time. If you do go out, please adhere to all Provincial orders and respect the 2-meter physical distancing guideline. You are also expected to adhere to the Provincial order limiting gatherings to no more than 5 people.

Yes, but please keep to the minimum 2-meter physical distancing guideline. The further apart you are the better. It is also advisable to wear a mask or other face covering, so you don’t infect your neighbour, if you should be infected and not have symptoms. You will also be expected to adhere to the Provincial order limiting gatherings to no more than 5 people.

Town beaches remain closed. The Thornbury Harbour is open. To view a comprehensive list and map of open and closed parks, trails, green spaces and natural areas, please visit to: https://www.thebluemountains.ca/covid-19-open-and-closed.cfm

Yes, you are allowed to walk through open parks and trails. To view a comprehensive list and map of open and closed parks, trails, green spaces and natural areas, please refer to: https://www.thebluemountains.ca/covid-19-open-and-closed.cfm

‘Walking through’ is considered walking, running or moving through a park without stopping. You cannot loiter, sit down on a bench, use a picnic table, use playground equipment, or use open parks and trails for any purpose other than for walking through.

Enhanced patrols of all public spaces will be in effect. Please respect the physical distancing guidelines and the applicable Provincial Orders.

Yes, you are allowed to go for a walk on a public road, but please respect the physical distancing guidelines and the applicable Provincial Orders.

Any residents who are aware of a violation of any Emergency Orders should contact the Town By-Law Department by calling 519-599-3131 ext. 249.

While the Town is discouraging unnecessary travel, and while travelling back and forth from a primary residence to a secondary residence is definitely discouraged, the Town is not restricting non-permanent residents from occupying their properties.

Mayor Soever recently issued a statement regarding the occupancy of seasonal properties. To view the full statement, please visit: https://www.thebluemountains.ca/document_viewer.cfm?doc=1285

No, this is not the time to visit the Town of The Blue Mountains. The Town is actively discouraging non-essential travel.

The creation of www.exploreblue.ca allows those who are interested in visiting The Blue Mountains to tour the area virtually and then come in person when it is safe to do so.

No. Only businesses that adhere to the Provincial criteria or that are declared as an essential workplace by the Province of Ontario can remain open during this time. To view the Provincial list of essential workplaces, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces

The Town has created a directory of local businesses that are deemed essential or offering contact free e-commerce/curbside/delivery services. The Town encourages all residents to try and support local businesses during this time: https://www.exploreblue.ca/local-businesses-directory.

At this time, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has not made any decisions to restrict, delay or cancel the provincial fishing season, or restrict access to Crown Land. In addition, the Town has not implemented any fishing or hunting restrictions but enhanced patrols by the OPP and By-Law Enforcement will take place over the opening weekend including foot patrols and ATV patrols. Patrols will be focused on anyone trespassing on closed or private properties.

However, there are a variety of closures that will impact common fishing locations throughout the Town. To view a comprehensive list and maps of open and closed parks, trails, green spaces and natural areas, please refer to: https://www.thebluemountains.ca/covid-19-open-and-closed.cfm

In addition, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has created a webpage outlining closures and restrictions Province wide: https://www.ofah.org/covid19/.

On March 30, 2020, Council approved the recommendation to waive penalties and interest for April, May and June for both residential and commercial property taxes and utility payments. This decision effectively extends the property tax and utility due dates to June 30, 2020. The extension until June 30, 2020 is an interim measure. The Province has already extended the deadline for the Town to remit the June 30, 2020 School Board payment until September 30, 2020. In addition, the Town is actively working with Grey County to finalize a deferral for some of the County taxes that are owed. It is anticipated that these additional measures will be incorporated into an extended deferral period for both residential and commercial property taxes and utility payments. 

Property Tax & Utility Information

It is important to note that the tax monthly pre-authorized payment plan (PAP) will be processed as usual unless written instructions to suspend the payment are received three (3) days prior to the 1st of the month. For the tax due date PAP, the May 27th tax instalment due date withdrawal will be moved to the new tax due date of June 30th. In addition, all tax post-dated tax cheques received dated May 27th will be deposited June 30th.

For utility (water and sewer) account payments, the utility due date pre-authorized payments and post-dated cheques for April and June due dates will be processed as usual.

To change your tax and/or utility PAP or cancel your post-dated cheque, please contact the Finance department at finance@thebluemountains.ca or call 519-599-3131 ext. 221.

Through collaboration with local business and community leaders, the Town of The Blue Mountains has formed a task force to lead the recovery efforts related to COVID-19. The Task Force is called the Community Recovery Task Force.

Approved at the March 30, 2020, Special Meeting of Council, the task force will focus on strategic efforts and initiatives to ensure that both the Town and community are well-positioned and ready to implement relief and recovery efforts.

The primary focus of the task force is to work collaboratively to ensure that our tourism, agriculture and small business economies come out stronger and more resilient than ever before. The task force will be considering a variety of initiatives to ensure that both business owners and residents are supported through these difficult and uncertain times.

For more information, and to keep up-to-date with the work of the task force, please visit: www.thebluemountains.ca/covid-19.cfm

The Fire Department is requesting that all residents refrain from burning outdoors including campfires until the declared State of Emergency has been lifted.

As front-line emergency staff, the Fire Department resources are extremely important to ensure the health and safety of the community. It is important to ensure that resources can be effectively deployed to where they are needed rather than to a outdoor fire that is preventable.

If you require further information, please contact the Blue Mountains Fire Department during normal business hours at 519-599-5411.


Contacts

Tim Hendry
Manager of Communications & Economic Development
519-599-3131 x282