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What’s next? COVID-19 reopening in Oakville

COVID-19 reopening
What’s next? COVID-19 reopening in Oakville
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Kim Arnott

Kim Arnott

Kim Arnott is a graduate of McMaster University and Sheridan College’s journalism program, her reporting has appeared in dozens of daily and community newspapers, magazines and specialty publications over the last two decades.

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Longing for COVID-19 reopening? Eager to check out a library book? Enrol your kids in summer camp? Pay for your bus fare?

All those things and more may be returning to Oakville soon. Or soon-ish. Probably.

While timelines are vague and much depends on provincial guidance and COVID-19 numbers remaining stable, the town has developed a framework for reopening various services.

“This framework will help us navigate how Oakville moves forward and recovers from the impacts of COVID-19 in a way that is safe and efficient,” said Mayor Rob Burton.

Green spaces, community gardens, cemeteries, leash-free and skateboard parks, and other park amenities have recently reopened for public use.

The town is also now taking marriage license applications, by appointment only.

This week will see basketball courts reopen, with work underway to get the libraries ready for curbside pickup service by early June.

Beyond that details are sketchy. Jane Clohecy, the town’s acting chief administrative officer said the town is working to determine what appropriate summer camps might look like, with the aim of a July launch.

Unlike other municipalities, Oakville has not yet pulled the plug on its existing summer camps. Clohecy said the original camps will be cancelled, but the town is hoping to have modified versions available when it makes the announcement.

Other COVID-19 reopening possibilities in the coming weeks

  • Park washrooms, once the town determines how to manage the provincial recommendation for twice-daily cleanings
  • Liquor licences, required for bars and restaurants to open patios
  • Bus fares, after the installation of plexiglass allows for front of the bus boarding
  • Splash pads, after consultation with health professionals
  • Appointments for in-person services at town hall
  • Rehiring of seasonal staff and possibly summer students by mid-June, to deliver summer programs and services
  • Cooling centres, as the summer heats up and provincial guidelines are clearer

 

“With 228 COVID-19 cases in Oakville and 694 in Halton, the community has done “a fabulous job” of flattening the curve, said Clohecy.

She added that the virus’s impact on town employees has also been low, with three staff testing positive and three additional staff currently awaiting test results.

As the town plans for a safe resumption of service, it is reminding residents of the need to continue to abide by health and safety protocols.

For more information, read the COVID-19 Recovery Program Framework report (item #12 on the May 25 Council agenda).

 

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