Heading into stage 3 of re-opening and economic recovery
As we gradually head into Stage 3 today, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations. Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also be increased. Physical distancing remains a requirement for all people who are not from the same household or social circle. In keeping with the gradual approach to reopening the province and Ottawa Public Health will continue to monitor key public health indicators and some Stage 3 restrictions will be further eased over time when it is safe to do so.
Effective today, all playground and exercise equipment at City parks will reopen after being closed for the past four months. All users are reminded to practice physical distancing from people outside your household, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands after using park equipment.
The City is examining how to best resume additional Recreation and Cultural programming offerings throughout the summer, including access to fitness facilities and programs. The City is working to design programs and retrofit facilities to support physical distancing and to help protect participants and staff.
Indoor pools have already reopened for public and lane swimming by reservation. You can now book using the new online reservation system. Also, weekly modified swimming lessons will begin on Monday, July 20. Online registration is open now.
Ontario must respond to the child care needs in time for the fall
Effective July 27, all licensed childcare centres will be able to move from the current cohort size of 10 to a cohort size of 15 children, with a requirement to maintain ratios and group sizes under 15, as set out under the Child Care and Early Years Act. This should bring the childcare sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.
In working with the City’s Child Care Services Department and Child Care Now (CCN) I tabled a motion this week at City Council, seconded by Councillor Riley Brockington, regarding child care and the province’s plan for economic recovery. The motion asks that the Government of Ontario develop a comprehensive plan to respond to the child care needs of families in time for the fall, and to provide adequate provincial funding for licensed child care and EarlyOn programs so that they can re-open safely without raising parent fees. I am pleased to share that this motion unanimously passed and I will be reaching out to the Premiere early next week to present this request on behalf of the City of Ottawa and CCN
This motion compliments a similar one passed in Toronto last month presented by City Councillor Mike Layton. The hope is that other Ontario municipalities will make similar requests as child care programs reopen across the province.
Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the economy and Child care is essential in allowing women full participation in the workforce. COVID-19 has been a major setback for many who lost employment or faced double duty at home. It is important that all levels of government work together to create a national child care system that is truly affordable and accessible to all. This is essential in order to support our road to economic recovery from COVID-19.