Solar eclipse: State of emergency declared in Niagara Region

Click to play video: 'Niagara Region declares state of emergency ahead of eclipse'
Niagara Region declares state of emergency ahead of eclipse
WATCH ABOVE: Niagara Region has preemptively declared a state of emergency as it gets ready to host thousands for the upcoming total solar eclipse. Authorities say they have been planning for the event for more than a year, but the flood of visitors has officials pulling out extra precautions. Kyle Benning has more – Mar 29, 2024

A state of emergency has been declared in Niagara Region with thousands of people expected to head there to view the April 8 solar eclipse.

A news release issued by the region said the state of emergency was declared “out of an abundance of caution” by Regional Chair Jim Bradley under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), effective Thursday, March 28.

“Declaring a state of emergency under the EMCPA strengthens the tools the region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise,” the release said.

The release said residents and visitors to Niagara are welcome to safely enjoy the eclipse on April 8, “and Niagara’s local governments, emergency responders, schools and other organizations have been working together with the province and other key partners to make that possible.”

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Police have previously said estimates suggest one million people could descend on Niagara Falls alone.

Niagara Region is along the path of totality for the eclipse, making it one of the best places to take in the event.

“On April 8, the spotlight will be on Niagara as thousands of visitors join us to share in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and we will be ready to shine,” Bradley said.

“I would like to thank all of our local governments, first responders, and community organizations who have been working together diligently to make sure our community is able to offer a safe and unforgettable experience, both for our visitors, and for all those who call Niagara home.”

The release said individuals should be prepared for crowds and long lines and should consider filling up on gas, getting groceries and running errands before the eclipse.

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“Follow local directives and road signage as you travel on April 8. While travelling on highways, don’t stop, take pictures, or get out of your car to view the eclipse,” the release said.

Most schools in Niagara will be closed on April 8 and parents were encouraged to have a childcare plan in place.

Those viewing the eclipse should only wear ISO 12312-2 certified glasses, the region noted.

Niagara Region will also be closing some facilities and modifying some programs / services to help keep traffic off the roads.

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