DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: To protect Township staff and help halt the spread of COVID-19, the Township of Scugog has closed the Municipal office to the public, also known as Town Hall, located in Port Perry.
The decision was made at a special council meeting on Tuesday, March 17th. “Safety of our staff is paramount,” CAO Paul Allore stressed.
A Scugog press release explained, the Township will “continue to provide services to residents via telephone and email, wherever possible.”
“Residents may also make use of the drop box at the front doors. If you require a service that is time sensitive or critical, please call 905-985-7346 or email email@example.com,” read the press release.
While the province of Ontario declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19, CAO Allore said that is not a recommended measure for Scugog.
“The reason the state of emergency was called by the province was to invoke some powers to require closing of [certain] businesses. We are not at the state yet, and I hope we never get to the state, where we have COVID-19 in the community,” he stated.
CAO Allore explained the communication with Township staff has been “open and transparent” regarding the virus situation.
The Township is currently going through a process to decide “which staff can work from home and which staff are required to work at [a township] facility”, Mr. Allore added.
Scugog’s most recent council meeting, on Monday, March 23rd, still went forward, but there was no public access and the meeting was live streamed. Council’s April 6th meeting has been cancelled.
Earlier, the township announced the closure of several buildings, including the Scugog Community Recreation Centre, Blackstock Recreation Complex, the Latcham Centre, Scugog Memorial Public Library, the Youth Centre known as ‘The Lookout’, and the Fire Adminstration Office.
Despite setting a preliminary closure timeline of three weeks, CAO Allore said “we really don’t know if that is going to do it.”
As well as closing public access to the municipal office, council also agreed to cancel all advisory committee and committee of adjustment meetings until further notice.
Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew released a statement following the meeting.
“These operational decisions are never made lightly and were made to help keep the health and safety of our community. You have heard the terms social distancing and flattening the curve. What we are all trying to do is limit the opportunity to spread the virus,” the Mayor’s statement read.
The Mayor also stressed the importance of the community working together.
“These are stressful times and we need to support and help one another. We need to heed the words of the health experts, stay home with each other if we can, only go to the stores when you need to, please do not hoard food or toilet paper. Those families that are in self isolation, take the time to connect, play games, read books, exercise, teach each other life skills like cooking and have your children teach you about technology. The Scugog Public Library website is a wonderful resource for online books, audio books, e-magazines, concerts and activities,” she wrote. “If you want to help, make a donation to Operation Scugog, as their shelves are very low and can use your support, and thank you to the wonderful volunteers there. Limit your in person visits to nursing homes to immediate family only. Try Facetime and phone calls to connect instead. Call to check on senior friends and families to see how they are doing. Together we can flatten the curve of infection and not overwhelm our medical facilities.”