Category Archives: Uncategorized

TELEPHONE SCAMMERS

You may heard about the telephone scammers who ask questions with the goal of getting you to answer “Yes”. At least one local Westport resident received such a call on the evening of January 6.

The quick thinking person immediately became suspicious when the “after hours” caller stated that they were with the Ministry of Health and who then proceeded with several closed questions – ones that you have to answer either with a “yes” or “no”. The resident stayed one step ahead of the caller and hung up.

It is not absolutely clear what the purpose of these calls are, but there is certainly some criminal intent. Please be careful. Check your call display before answering your phone. Should you receive a suspicious call, you should report it to the OPP by using their ‘on-line” reporting portal at opp.ca.

UPDATE FROM ONTARIO GOVERNMENT N.B.- THE LIST OF RESTRICTIONS IS LONG

NEWS RELEASE

Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen

Time-limited measures needed to preserve hospital capacity as province continues to accelerate booster dose rollout

Overview

In response to recent trends that show a rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Ontario is temporarily moving into Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts.

As of January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. the following measures will be in place for at least 21 days (until January 27) subject to trends in public health and our health system.

Please refer to O. Reg. 263/20 Rules for Areas in Step 2 for the complete list of measures and conditions that apply to certain businesses, organizations, places and individuals.

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment before January 5, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Gatherings and events

Social gatherings are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor gatherings limited to five people or fewer
  • outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer

Organized public events are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor events limited to five people or fewer
  • outdoor events have no limits on number of attendees, but face coverings and/or masks must be worn when distancing (two metres or more) cannot be maintained

Weddings, funerals, religious services, rites and ceremonies are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor services are limited to 50 per cent the capacity of the room
  • outdoor services are limited to the number of people who can maintain two metres distance
  • drive-in (motor vehicle) services permitted
  • social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits

Retirement homes

Retirement homes are exempt from organized public event and social gathering restrictions if the home is in compliance with the policies or guidance, if any, issued by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

Restrictions for businesses

Work from home

Businesses and organizations must make sure that all work is conducted remotely, unless the nature of the work requires workers to be on-site at the workplace.

Retail

All retail must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible
  • active screening at photography studios and services
  • safety measures for vehicle test drives sales, such as a maximum of 10 minutes for a test drive, a maximum of two people in a vehicle, including one sales representative, windows must be rolled down, active screening, masking, etc.
  • safety measures for shopping malls, including capacity limits, no loitering, distancing in line ups, food courts closed and active screening.

Camps

Day and overnight camps are closed.

Meeting and events spaces, and food and drink establishments

Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, including those with dance floors (such as nightclubs) and strip clubs must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor service closed
  • take out, drive through and delivery allowed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people per table
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres and convention centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed with exceptions, such as child care, court and government services, social services, health services, collective bargaining and mental health/addiction services up to 10 people, in-person exams for limited fields/occupations up to 50 people
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people per table
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

Sports and recreational fitness activities

Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gyms, sporting events and personal training must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor closed with limited exceptions and conditions (such as athletes training for Olympics and Paralympics, select professional and elite amateur sport leagues who will operate via an approved framework from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and persons with disabilities for physical therapy)
  • outdoor open with spectators limited to 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions
  • proof of vaccination required for facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people

Recreational amenities

Recreational amenities must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor recreational amenities closed
  • outdoor recreational amenities open

Entertainment

Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, zoos, science centres , landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks, waterparks, tour and guide services including boat tours, fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals must operate under the following conditions:

  • outdoor open with restrictions (such as masking on rides)
  • spectators at seated events at 50 per cent capacity
  • outdoor tours and boat tours at 50 per cent capacity
  • drive-in and drive through events permitted with restrictions, such as distancing between cars, only permitted to leave a vehicle in limited circumstances, etc.
  • indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas closed except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance, artistic event or performance, with restrictions

Commercial film and television production

  • studio audiences not permitted
    • Restrictions, including performers must be distanced unless necessary

Casinos and racing venues

Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will be closed.

Horse and car racing tracks and similar venues must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions, including mandatory reservations, spectators limited to 50 per cent of usual seating capacity and others
  • proof of vaccination required for facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people.

Personal care services

Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars will be closed.

Personal care services such as barbers, hair salons, tattoo parlours must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • no services where face coverings need to be removed
  • by appointment only
  • active screening
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible

Short-term accommodation

Hotels, motels and similar establishments must operate under the following conditions:

  • open except for any area required to be closed, such as indoor gyms, pools, steam rooms/saunas
  • restaurants within the hotel or motel may offer takeout or delivery only

Short-term rentals must operate under the following conditions:

  • only open to those in need of housing (does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences.)
  • ice fishing huts permitted with restrictions

Other service providers

Liquor sales and service are permitted under the following conditions:

  • sale of alcohol must end at 10 p.m. and no consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m., with the exception of delivery and takeout services, grocery and convenience stores and other liquor retail stores

Real estate agencies must operate under the following conditions:

  • property viewings by appointment only
  • no open houses

Businesses that provide in-person teaching or instruction (such as cooking classes, music classes) must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed, except for organizations that provide health and safety training (with conditions)
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions in place, such as physical distancing

Driving instruction must be conducted under the following conditions:

  • limited to in-person instruction for drivers of commercial motor vehicles only.

Libraries and community centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • open with 50 per cent capacity, with limited exceptions, such as child care, social services

Bathhouses and sex clubs will be closed.

Contact us

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

NEW COVID-19 PROVINCIAL DIRECTION – effective 31DEC21

The Province has introduced many changes including to quarantine, testing, and reporting requirements and for schools and workplaces. Please take a moment to review the below media release from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.

MEDIA RELEASE:

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit – December 31, 2021

COVID-19 Current Situation in LGL

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, like the rest of Ontario, is seeing a surge in new COVID-19 infections in the past two weeks with between 50 and 150 new infections each day. We have both Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants circulating – more and more Omicron from the available lab testing results.  Delta can cause serious disease among older people and those with underlying health problems. Omicron tends to have milder more cold like symptoms with cough, fever and loss of taste and smell. It can cause serious disease in people who have underling health conditions or who are not double vaccinated. A third booster of Pfizer or Moderna increases the protection against developing COVID symptoms when infected with the virus.

Layers of Protection

Given the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus on the community, it is important to have several layers of protection against the virus (assessing symptoms and staying home when sick, vaccine, masks, physically distance, fewer in person contacts, hand washing, regular cleaning) so that people can continue to have important social contact, go to work, school and daycare, and businesses and services can function safely.

New Provincial Direction 

COVID 19 Infections

To respond to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, is providing new direction to the public who have symptoms.

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/exposed

§  When symptoms develop, check the provincial assessment tool to see if they are COVID-19 symptoms  – one of the main symptoms (fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath)  or two of other symptoms (sore throat, headache, extreme tiredness, nasal congestion, muscle aches and joint pain, vomiting/ diarrhea) are associated with COVID-19 infection.

§  Testing is not needed when these symptoms are present, and it will not be able to book an appointment at Assessment Centres or pharmacies, except for specific circumstances. This ensures testing is available for people and workers in highest risk settings. Individuals with a booked appointment currently will be able to go to be tested.

§  Isolate if fully vaccinated or under 12 years old, along with other household members, for 5 days and with symptoms improving. If not fully vaccinated, and 12 years or older, or if immune compromised then isolate for 10 days, including household members. 

§  If a Rapid Antigen Test is done, a positive result is confirmatory of COVID-19 and a PCR test is not needed.  When the test is positive then contact close contacts and let them know they should watch for symptoms for 10 days after their exposure.  

§  Two negative tests done 24 to 48 hours apart mean that the symptoms are likely not due to COVID-19. It is still important to stay home until symptoms are resolving, and follow public health precautions. Including wear a mask and physically distancing. 

§  You do not need to report symptoms or the result of a Rapid Antigen Test to Public Health.

Individuals who work in high risk settings (e.g., hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes and other congregate living settings) have additional precautions as it is important to protect the vulnerable people in these settings.

Fourth Vaccine Dose for Residents of Congregate Settings

All residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, elder care lodges and other congregate care settings for older adults will be offered a fourth dose of vaccine, a minimum of three months or 84 days since their third dose. This will ensure they have added protection from COVID-19. 

The province is also mandating third doses for all staff, students, volunteers, caregivers and support workers in congregate care settings. Those currently eligible for a booster by Dec. 28, 2021must receive their third dose by January 28, 2022. When general visitors will be allowed in these settings again, they too will have to provide proof of a booster dose.

Return to School After Winter Break

Schools will be open for in-person learning on January 5th. More details will be provided by Boards of Education. Students and staff must screen for symptoms before leaving for school. If they have COVID-19 symptoms then they will follow the direction about isolation as outlined above.  Schools do not need to report to Public Health if people are away from schools with COVID symptoms or the results of testing, if it is done. Classes will not be dismissed if there is someone with COVID-19 in the class.  

To reduce the risk of spread of the virus in the classroom setting, it is critical to follow all public health precautions including wearing a well-fitted three ply cloth mask or a medical mask, regular hand washing, and limiting close contact with others. Outside of school, playing with friends is safest when outside or, when inside, when wearing a well fitted mask.

Workplaces

Workers who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must stay home and follow the directions outlined above. They must notify their employer and identify who their close contacts in the workplace are. The employer can then notify the close contacts that they should monitor for symptoms. Public Health will not be contacting workplaces regarding positive cases except in high risk settings.

A review of the Workplace Health and Safety Plan can identify whether any changes need to be made to preserve the workforce in light of the increase in COVID-19 infections in the community. Screening for any symptoms before coming to work is critical along with the use of well fitted 3 ply cloth mask or medical mask, maintaining distance among co-workers, and cohorting staff groups who do a similar job. COVID-19 and workplace health and safety | Ontario.ca

Large Indoor Settings

As of December 31, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario is restricting spectator capacity in large indoor settings to 50 per cent, or 1,000, whichever is less. The new limit will apply to spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness activities, concert venues and theatres.

MAYOR’S NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE 2022 

I feel very privileged to be your Mayor and remain grateful to the people of Westport for your warmth and friendly support.

I have witnessed first-hand the incredible work people are doing day-in, day-out to support our Village, and this has never been more important than with the OMICRON outbreak.  Thank you for your countless community volunteer initiatives and for spreading goodwill throughout our Village with open and generous hearts.  We have so many things to be grateful for, including our family, friends, and neighbours.  Considering what we have been through the past two years, you continue to keep the safety blanket around Westport. 

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark Health Unit continues to be a leader in the province for its vaccination rate.  Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated.  Please get the booster as soon as possible. Our local businesses have been on the front line since March 2020.  We take our hats off to you all and I urge Westport residents to SHOP LOCAL and support our local businesses.

It is traditional at this time of year to review the past year and look forward to the New Year, which I do with some confidence.  In 2021, Bedford St, which had been referenced as the worst road in Leeds & Grenville, was refurbished.  New sidewalks, the road levelled out and no more pot holes.  Thank you to the provincial government who covered 93% of the cost of work.  

We hosted two vaccination clinics at the WTC Communications Centre and it took many volunteers to provide a safe and efficient venue.  Front line staff put needles into 850 arms.  Well done!

After October’s by-election, we welcomed Mrs Ami Carty to council.  Councillor Carty and her husband Ryan have two daughters, she is a life-long resident of the Village, a teacher and community volunteer. Councillor Carty dug in on day one and her focus on council matters is recognized by her colleagues.  

Council continues its 2022 budget discussions against a 4.5% inflation rate over the past 12 months and a zero % property tax increase in 2021.  Next budget meeting is Tuesday, January 11 at 6:00.  It is live streamed on the Village of Westport Youtube Channel and I encourage you to watch.

Our Westport branding exercise continues in January when the committee meets to consider the slogan.  Over 80 suggestions were submitted by community members – so stay tuned.  It too will be live streamed.

With thanks to grants from the provincial government covering 75% of the work, there will be some technical upgrades at both the water plant on Concession St and the waste water pumping station at Glen St.  

We received positive news last week that the bequeathment for the new Serenity Garden, located beside the fire hall, should arrive this winter and building and planting can begin in the spring.  It will be a peaceful place to sit while surrounded by flowers and plants.

Watercolours of Westport has reached its first year goal – to have 10 new families in residence.  Congratulations to Mr Steve Roulston.  Building this part of our community provides jobs for many local people and we continue to be thankful for these opportunities.

There is a change of command at Town Hall this winter.  Our CAO, Mr Paul Snider, is retiring mid February. He has provided strong leadership these past five years.  As most of you know, Paul was raised in Westport and he always has a secret smile when he admits how pleased he has been to return to his hometown to finish his career.  Best wishes Paul and Heather.  The new CAO, Ms Kimberly Westgate, begins in late January.  She brings many years of municipal experience with her, currently serving as the Clerk for The Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands.  Please extend a warm Westport welcome to Kimberly.

This year has shown us that the world can change overnight. We can only rely on a few things: our faith, our community, our family and our courage.  In 2022, we will continue to stand side by side supporting each other.  Remember to be kind to others and to yourself..

My warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.

Mayor Robin Jones