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Coronavirus: Orillia to loosen property restrictions, reopen landfill

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Orillia, Ont., will reopen its landfill and allow property and lawn maintenance companies to operate, beginning the first week of May, as Ontario continues to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Orillia’s landfill will reopen on May 4 for essential loads only. City officials say strict physical distancing measures will be in place and only debit or credit card will be accepted as a form of payment.

Property and lawn care companies that provide services for “safety, security or sanitation purposes” will be allowed to operate as of May 1. These services include lawn-cutting, dethatching, rolling, fertilization, clearing of yard and garden debris, and aeration.

READ MORE: 12 new coronavirus cases, 1 additional death reported in Simcoe Muskoka

“After extensive communication and consultation with our local MPP Jill Dunlop about essential property maintenance and lawn maintenance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been deemed that work which addresses potential health, safety and sanitation issues can proceed starting May 1,” Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke said in a statement.

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“All maintenance work must be completed while adhering to the strict safety protocols, such as physical distancing, which are still firmly in place.”

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Beginning May 1, residents may also hire companies to open or maintain existing swimming pools in order for stagnant and standing water to be removed, which will limit the breeding of mosquitoes.

“In accordance with provincial regulations, landscaping projects conducted by professional contractors for aesthetic purposes cannot proceed at this time,” officials say. “These include, but are not limited to, planting of gardens, flowers and trees, and installing pergolas, patios, as well as interlock walkways and driveways.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 5 outbreaks at long-term care, retirement homes in Simcoe Muskoka

When Orillia’s landfill reopens on May 4, there will be new restrictions, including the number of people allowed on the site, how people can use it and the types of material that can be dropped off, in addition to the hours of operation.

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“Use of the landfill during the emergency should be limited to essential disposal requirement,” officials say. “Residents should only come to the waste diversion site if absolutely necessary.”

The landfill will be open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on weekends and statutory holidays.

“Please note there may be significant wait times,” officials add.

In Orillia, there have been 13 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, Ontario reported 459 new coronavirus cases, bringing the provincial total to 16,187, including 1,082 deaths.