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Coronavirus: City of Kawartha Lakes to lift several restrictions

Coronavirus: City of Kawartha Lakes to start easing service restrictions
The City of Kawartha Lakes will start to lift some of its service restrictions soon. Mark Giunta has an update.

The City of Kawartha Lakes is relaxing some of its coronavirus pandemic emergency restrictions over the next few weeks.

Mayor Andy Letham warned, however, that the municipality won’t think twice about shutting it all down again should there be any abuse of the services.

“People are going to have to follow the health and safety protocols in-place — physical distancing and no gatherings of five or more,” said Letham.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Outbreaks declared at Lindsay, Brighton long-term cares homes, one outbreak rescinded

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“If people don’t take this seriously, and it becomes an issue from a health perspective, we, as a municipality, won’t hesitate to close these services back down again to ensure everyone stays safe.”

The City of Kawartha Lakes will lift its city-wide burn ban on Friday, May 8, with the exception of the northern part of the municipality, where a provincial-ordered burn ban will remain in effect.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario restricting outdoor fires during COVID-19 outbreak

Lindsay Transit is now offering no-charge, on-demand temporary service for essential needs, such as going to work, a grocery store, or to medical appointments.  Residents can be picked up at any regular transit stop, but need to book a pick-up time by calling the transit service at 705-324-9411.

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The Lindsay landfill site will reopen to residents, with strict physical distancing measures enforced, on Monday, May 11.  The service will observe its normal operating hours, but no cash will be accepted.

The landfill sites in Fenelon and Eldon will reopen May 18.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario getting close to reopening parks, retail curbside pickup, Ford says

The 55 km Victoria Rail Trail, between Lindsay and Kimount, will reopen to ATVs and other motorized vehicles May 12.  The opening was delayed from May 1 because of the pandemic.  It is open now for pedestrians and bicycles.

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The municipality is targetting May 14 to reopen its municipal boat launches.  Right now, staff are busy preparing them for the season.  Once opened, there will be signage advising of strict physical distancing measures.

All City of Kawartha Lakes farmers’ markets will reopen on or just after May 30.   All of the organizers need to submit safety plans for approval from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit before reopening.

READ MORE: Law firm planning lawsuit over false COVID-19 positive test results at Bobcaygeon long-term care

On Wednesday, the province extended its emergency order to May 19.

Letham said unless the province released new restrictions to the services, it wouldn’t alter the course of reopening.

“We’re at a comfort level to reopen these services, unless things go off the rail and we need to update accordingly,” he said.

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On his weekly teleconference with reporters, Letham said the plan is to increase police and bylaw officer presence in the near future to make sure all of the guidelines are followed.

“Obviously with the long weekend, we know there will be more people in our community,” he said.

“They’re going to patrol the boat launches and rail trail.  We’re going to have visible enforcement out there.  People realize we can do some of these things but there are precautions that need to be observed.  We’ll target the long weekend for now and see where it goes from there from an enforcement perspective.”

Easing restrictions on cottagers before the long-weekend
Easing restrictions on cottagers before the long-weekend

Also on the teleconference, the municipality’s manager of economic development Rebecca Mustard updated reporters on a new business pandemic impact survey that was released on Monday.

The answers from the survey will be provided to the new economic recovery task force that was created by the municipality at the virtual council session on April 28.

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So far, more than 100 businesses have responded to the survey which will close on May 11.

The final terms of reference for the task force as well as the secondary community pandemic recovery task force will go to council on May 26.