UPDATE: 3:04 p.m.
The Municipality of Grey Highlands has now decided to close all offices, facilities, and non-essential services.
The municipal administration offices, all arenas, facilities, halls, as well as the public library and museums will be closed immediately.
All scheduled council and committee meetings, programs and events are cancelled until April 14.
There will be no interruption to essential services related to roads, water and wastewater.
The Municipality of the Grey Highlands is referencing its emergency management plan to help protect its residents against COVID-19 as it waits for further instructions from the provincial and federal governments.
“Things are changing by the hour. We are awaiting information from the provincial and federal governments,” says Karen Govan, CAO of Grey Highlands. “The mayor and I are in constant communication and are relaying information back to the council and the senior management team as it becomes available. The mayor is also in constant communication with the Grey Bruce Health Services.”
Prior to the outbreak becoming a local reality, the municipality had a comprehensive emergency management plan in place.
“[The municipality] is required to meet throughout the year to put the plan into practice using mock scenarios,” Govan says. “Each member of the Emergency Management Team or their alternate is in attendance for all of these meetings. We are well prepared for this type of scenario and looking at splitting staff up wherever possible.”
Govan says that up until this point the municipality has been making decisions based on the best practices outlined in the plan.
Grey Highlands has not declared a state of emergency, but has cancelled all recreational programs and public bookings at municipal facilities.
No decisions have been made regarding individual public access to remaining buildings or related to scheduled meetings.
“At this point, all staff are still working and staff are still working on maintenance projects within the facilities,” Govan confirms.
The Grey Highlands public utilities department has temporarily suspended all water meter replacement appointments in an effort to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. All appointments will be rescheduled once it is deemed safe to do so.
March break programs at the public library have also been cancelled, however at present, the library remains open to the public.
For more information on the local COVID-19 update, visit the Grey Highlands website.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca