Kitchener city council has approved measures designed to provide some financial relief for area residents and local businesses due to the new coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down much of the city.
Council met electronically on Monday night to unanimously approve a plan that includes waiving penalties and interest charges for property tax and utility payments until May 31.
The city will also defer payments on business licensing fees, refund monthly parking payments and consider a reduction in lease and licence payments for tenants in city-owned spaces.
“It’s still early days, but financial impacts are already being felt throughout our community and across all economic sectors,” Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said in a statement.
“We hear that and we see that. And, while the financial tools we can provide as a municipality are somewhat limited, we’ve now put a plan in place to do our part in helping ease the burden for our community.”
The city also says it will offer support to the construction industry by continuing to review development plans and having building inspectors look at sites as long as they are empty.
It says it will also hold talks with the region and other area municipalities to find other ways to support local businesses.
“The City of Kitchener will continue to collaborate with government and business partners to ensure that area families and entrepreneurs can access all of the various supports on offer,” said Coun. Scott Davey, chair of Kitchener’s finance and corporate services committee. “These are extraordinary times, and we are in this together.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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