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Bradford West Gwillimbury

Skip Navigation LinksBradford West Gwillimbury > COVID-19 - Mayor's Update

​​​​​​COVID-19 - Mayor's Updates


February 27, 2021​

I know how frustrating it is that after less than two weeks, our region is moving back to the grey-lockdown stage and many businesses are once again forced to close.

While municipal governments do not have any say in the decision to impose lockdown measures, we do have the ability to relieve some of the burden on residents and businesses who are facing a difficult time financially.

For this reason, I am asking Council to consider some relief measures for those who are struggling to pay their property taxes, and we will discuss this at our meeting on March 2. At the very least, I will be pushing Council to have no penalty and zero interest on overdue accounts. At the March 2 Council meeting, we will also have resolutions to go to other levels of government to make sure our small businesses are protected.

This action, along with passing a 2021 budget with a zero per cent tax increase, a zero per cent water bill increase, a decrease in Councillors pay, and no new hires are a continuation of the commitment we have made to you over the past year to do what we can as a Town to support you through the pandemic. For small businesses, we created the temporary patio program, which we have approved again for 2021; we provided small business relief funds of up to $5000 within the first month of the pandemic; and we worked to stimulate traffic to small downtown businesses through the pop-up farmers market and the downtown music program. For residents, we provided relief on tax and utility payments; we opened up the community centre to assist those in need with a lunch program and access to showers; and we provided emergency funds through a partnership with Contact South Simcoe. This was all made possible through strict cost cutting measures within Town budgets, and making hard decisions about what we can do without at this trying time.

With the vaccine rollout set to begin in BWG next week, and a new vaccine just approved, the finish line of this terrible pandemic is in sight. This is a time to take care of one another and not tear each other down. If you have the means to do so, I encourage you to keep supporting our local businesses – shop local whenever you can, buy gift certificates to your favourite salon or spa, order takeout from a local restaurant, and share your positive reviews online.

Our Town Council has stepped up in the past and we will continue to do so. BWG is a great community with a strong tradition of looking out for one another – we are proud to be a part of that and grateful for all you do to help.

Best,
Rob Keffer

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February 26, 2021​

I am relieved and grateful to confirm that COVID-19 vaccination clinics are opening up next week in Simcoe County, including a location here in Bradford West Gwillimbury.

Here are the highlights of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s announcement. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE before you make an appointment or visit a clinic, and follow the instructions so that the clinics run as smoothly and efficiently as possible and we can get the doses administered quickly:

  • Vaccines are available by appointment only, and only to those who are currently eligible. If you book an appointment and are not eligible, or if you attend a clinic without an appointment, you will be turned away.
  • Appointments can be booked online at: www.smdhu.org. A family member or friend can book your online appointment for you if needed.
  • If you do not have access to online booking, you can call the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 and they will assist you in booking your appointment.

Those that are currently eligible are:

  • adults 85 years of age and older 
  • Indigenous adults 55 years of age and older, as well as their adult household members 
  • adult recipients of chronic home care
  • very high priority healthcare workers

If you think you might be in one of these categories but are uncertain, the website has much more detailed descriptions: www.smdhu.org.

The drop-in testing clinic will continue to be open on Tuesdays from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bob Fallis arena throughout the month of March for those who need it.

Now that the clinics are opening, my two key requests of you are diligence and patience. 

Diligence, meaning that once you are eligible to get the vaccine, please make an appointment to get the vaccine as soon as you can, for the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community. 

And patience, meaning that it is going to take some time before all of us have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, and it is up to us to keep our cool, wait our turn, continue to follow protocols for mask use, hand washing and physical distancing, and to understand that our healthcare workers are doing their very best.

Best,
Rob Keffer​

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January 29, 2021

click to visit Simcoe Muskoka District Health UnitAt the Bradford Valley Care Community, five residents have screened positive and two staff have definitively tested positive for the highly infectious UK Variant of COVID-19 (also called B.1.1.7), demonstrating that the need to prevent its spread is more urgent than ever. ​

This virus has already taken a terrible toll on our community, with 856 cases since the start of the pandemic, 139 currently infected and the tragic loss of 18 lives. 

Stay home when you can; when you can’t, be vigilant about masks and hand sanitization. Lives depend on it.

Best,
Rob Keffer

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​January 25, 2021

COVID threw us another curveball this week with the news that a person living in BWG has tested positive for the more contagious UK variant of the virus. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed that this individual had contact with someone at the Bradford Valley Care Community, so COVID-positive residents of Bradford Valley are being tested for the variant.

Dr. Charles Gardner, the SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health, tells us that the Health Unit is working with Bradford Valley to implement additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include extending the duration of isolation for people with the virus, and more quickly identifying and quarantining close contacts and their households. 

I share Dr. Gardner’s concern that testing for the UK variant is not yet standard, and echo his urging that the province develop a more robust system of testing. Meanwhile we can only assume that the variant is a real threat in our community and be vigilant about preventative measures and minimizing non-essential contacts.

The provincial lockdown will continue for the next several weeks, so Town facilities and offices will remain closed. The province has identified outdoor activity as essential, so I encourage you to get outside when you can, but to limit close contact to your immediate household. Treat places like outdoor skating rinks the same way you would the grocery store – wear a mask and keep 2 metres distance from other people whenever possible. 

If you have any symptoms or think you may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, the Central LHIN's drop-in testing clinic will be open again tomorrow, January 26, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bob Fallis arena.

Best,
Rob Keffer

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January 13, 2021

Town staff have been reviewing information from the province about the new state of emergency and stay-at-home order to ensure that we are in compliance, and to allow us to support residents and businesses. 

While the full legal details are not out yet, the main message is clear – stay at home unless essential. What “essential” means is somewhat less clear, so I am calling on residents of BWG to not only use your best judgement, but to err on the side of caution. PLEASE, before you make the decision to leave your home or to be in proximity to someone outside your household, ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary for your current health and wellbeing. Most services are now available through virtual means or low-contact options such as curbside pick-up and delivery, so I encourage you to investigate those alternatives wherever possible. 

In compliance with the order, our Town offices are closed to the public, with staff working from home except to perform essential services like road maintenance, water and wastewater services, and fire and emergency services. Staff are available to support you by phone or email – you’ll find contacts and more information here

I know that our small businesses are hurting, and I have heard from many of you about how frustrating it is that big box stores seem to be operating with little impact. Premier Ford promised that if these stores are not complying with restrictions, he would “come down on them like an 800 pound gorilla”, and we intend to hold him to that. If you have concerns about a retailer that is not obeying the rules, please call our by-law enforcement officers at 905-775-5366 ext. 1701.

If you require a COVID-19 test, the Central LHIN's drop-in clinic will continue every Tuesday this month from 10-2 at the Bob Fallis arena - see this page for details.

Please take care of yourselves and one another.

Best,
Rob Keffer​​

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January 8, 2021


Like most of you, I am starting 2021 with both hope and grave concern. With close to 200 active cases of COVID-19 in BWG, a unified approach to reduce the spread, address risks and ensure access to vaccines is crucial.

To this end, I have been working with other mayors of small urban and rural municipalities in the areas surrounding the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to strategize. Today, this group has put out the following statement:

SMALL URBAN GTHA MAYORS STATEMENT ON IMPACTS OF INCREASED COVID-19 CASES
For Immediate Release - January 8, 2021

“The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually yesterday to discuss the Provincial lockdown measures currently in place until January 23rd.

Positive Covid-19 cases are mounting in our communities at an alarming rate and there is an ongoing concern that these are primarily attributed to social gatherings occurring within private residences and through travel abroad. We would remind residents to only socialize with those living in your own household and to limit your outdoor visits to essential shopping for groceries and medical items. The Mayors call on the Federal government to clamp down on unnecessary travel to and from Canada in order to help curb the spread of Covid-19 across the Country.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed every facet of our lives, from how we work, go to school, and even how we shop and access services. Small businesses are an essential component to the economic vitality of small urban communities and have been hit particularly hard, especially new businesses that opened after March 15, 2020. The Federal Covid-19 business relief programs exclude these businesses, leaving them with no financial lifeline. We call on our Federal partners to amend guidelines to allow new businesses equal access to the financial supports available.

With the vaccines being rolled out in the coming months, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will continue to work together to ensure our municipalities and facilities are ready to be used as vaccinations centres when the Province needs them.

As always, we continue to rely on the expert advice from our Chief Medical Officers of Health and together with our Federal, Provincial and Municipal partners, we are optimistic that we will find long term solutions that provide economic opportunities for our local businesses while working to ensure we overcome this second wave to emerge stronger and healthier.”
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