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Ottawa council asks residents to cheer for frontline workers on Wednesday evenings

Medical staff work at a computer terminal as they prepare for the opening of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena in Ottawa, during a media tour on Friday, March 13, 2020. The assessment centre, operated by The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO, is an out-of-hospital clinic where people can be assessed and tested for COVID-19 if required.
Medical staff work at a computer terminal as they prepare for the opening of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena in Ottawa, during a media tour on Friday, March 13, 2020. The assessment centre, operated by The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO, is an out-of-hospital clinic where people can be assessed and tested for COVID-19 if required. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa city councillors are asking residents to cheer, clap and play instruments on Wednesday evenings in support of the workers on the frontlines of the city’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

READ MORE: City of Ottawa declares state of emergency over coronavirus

During its first-ever virtual meeting on Wednesday, council approved a motion from Bay Coun. Theresa Kavanagh that invites residents to “step outdoors” and “express a raucous cheer in support” for healthcare, food and transit workers from 6:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, starting March 25 and until April 8.

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“It’s a lot of work and most of it is on the backs of our very essential workers, and the healthcare workers particularly,” said Kavanagh, who dialled into the meeting remotely.

“Most people want to do something, they want to show their support.”

Cheers ring out for B.C. healthcare workers on front line of COVID-19 pandemic
Cheers ring out for B.C. healthcare workers on front line of COVID-19 pandemic

Whether organized or spontaneously, other cities in Canada and around the world have seen residents cheering and clapping from their balconies and homes for a similar reason.

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In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, residents in Ottawa have been under orders to stay home and severely limit their contact with other people for more than a week now and Kavanagh suggested an “orchestrated” show of support might positively counterbalance the effects of being physically isolated.

“It will lift spirits and this is something really important right now because it’s about mental health, too.”

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“We want to feel like we’re contributing. And this is a small way — perhaps a little bit [of a] loud way — but it’s a way we can show our support.”

READ MORE: City of Ottawa bracing for revenues, workforce to shrink as coronavirus spreads

The City of Ottawa is now under a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.