Both the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington have announced plans to end their states of emergency on Dec. 31 after they were declared at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that’s only if cases and hospitalizations continue to decline and vaccines are available for children under the age of 12.
Both the city and the county said the decision was made in consultation with medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer.
Wellington County declared its state of emergency on March 23, 2020, and Guelph followed suit three days later.
The declaration gave Mayor Cam Guthrie and Warden Kelly Linton the ability to take actions and make orders that would be considered necessary to protect the property, health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents.
It also delegated some authority to the Chief Administrative Officer in the city and county and allowed for some employees to be transferred to different roles, work sites and union groups to fill pandemic-related needs.
In a statement, Guthrie said the state of emergency will no longer be needed by the end of the year.
“But that does not mean we are across the finish line in our continued response to COVID-19, and it does not mean we can let our guard down,” he said.
“This is an administrative change that will be largely invisible to the public. But it’s another milestone in our community’s journey to recovery from the pandemic.”
As of Wednesday, Guelph boasted a vaccination rate of about 90 per cent, while nearly 80 per cent of eligible Wellington County residents are considered fully vaccinated.
“Now it is time to start planning for a return to something more normal for all of us,” Dr. Mercer said.
“Like many, I am keen to begin the careful reduction of restrictions guided by the best science and data available. As we work toward that return to normal, each of us must continue to follow public health guidance so that as we approach the time to ease restrictions, we are as safe and as ready as we can be.”