Guelph’s COVID-19 recovery efforts well underway

Guelph, Ont., June 17, 2020 – At today’s special Council meeting, senior administrative staff detailed plans to gradually restart City services and support the local economy as Guelph adapts to Stage 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our community, and has been especially devastating for our local businesses,” says mayor Guthrie. “As a City, we need to be agile and look for innovative solutions that will help us along the road to economic recovery. I’m thrilled that my motion for a pilot program to create a downtown dining district has passed. We’ve seen how successful this type of idea has been in other cities around the world, and I’m looking forward to getting Guelph residents back in our downtown so they can enjoy everything our restaurants and shops have to offer in a safe, creative way.”

As part of the plan to reopen, Council approved the temporary closure of some downtown streets to cars to create a dining district; reinstated transit fares and parking fees; and temporarily suspended mobile sign fees and some regulations in support of businesses.

Here are the highlights of today’s Council meeting:

Downtown dining district

Council voted in support of a motion to close a portion of some roads downtown to vehicular traffic to allow patios to expand further, creating a dining district. The City will work with the Downtown Guelph Business Association in the coming weeks to implement Council’s direction. As more stores and restaurants reopen, the City made room for more temporary patios and curbside pickup last week.

Summer activities

The City is prioritizing opening the Market Square water feature and Lyons pool to help Guelph citizens cool off and have fun. Controlled entry and time-limited access will help ensure as many people as possible can use the amenities.

Washrooms have been reopened in Market Square and select parks, and the City will ensure appropriate cleaning measures are being accommodated.

Transit and parking

City Council approved the reinstatement of transit and parking fees effective July 6, with some exemptions. All Guelph Transit riders are required to wear a mask or face covering to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This direction is based on updated advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Transit fare exemptions

  • March pass holders will receive a preloaded July pass card free of charge
  • The $5 card fee for the On Your Way card will be waived to encourage riders to purchase a reloadable card

Parking fee exemptions

  • March parking passes will be honoured for July; monthly fees will resume August 1
  • Parking spaces will be held for pass holders who don’t need to park right away at no cost until September 1

Supporting businesses and the economy

Guelph Farmers’ Market, in-person and online

Starting July 4, the Guelph Farmers’ Market will reopen outdoors. Making use of the Market’s back parking lot, customers will be able to pick up and purchase fresh food from farmers and producers of the market every Saturday.

With the support of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the following safety measures have been put in place:

  • One person per household allowed to shop at one time
  • Maintain a two metre (6.5 feet) distance from vendors and other shoppers
  • Follow entry and directional signs

Pre-orders and electronic payments will be strongly encouraged. Masks will not be required for customers because the market is outside.

Guelph Farmers’ Market has reduced the usual complement of vendors from 120 to 30 farmers and producers of fresh food to accommodate the size, physical distancing requirements and staff available to make the temporary market safe during COVID-19.

For individuals looking to purchase products other than fresh food, or to order products online, Our Food Future has launched an online market platform on the Open Food Network. The Open Food Network provides vendors a way to connect with customers, offering delivery or farm-gate pickup. Starting July 4, customers can choose to pick up their farm fresh order in-person from those vendors who will be at the Guelph Farmers’ Market.

Customers can access vendors through the Open Food Networks site https://openfoodnetwork.ca/groups/guelph-farmers-market.

A complete list of participating vendors and guidelines for customers to use the outdoor Guelph Farmers’ Market safely will be available online at guelph.ca/farmersmarket by the end of June.

Mobile sign bylaw changes

Council has approved the temporary suspension of some mobile sign regulations. For the remainder of the year, any one business can apply for more than four signs per year. The $85 permit fee will be waived.

Stimulus principles

One of the City’s responsibilities is to advocate for programs and legislation that support the needs of Guelph residents and businesses. This afternoon Council approved nine stimulus principles and directed they be shared with the Federal and Provincial governments.

Fiscal and organizational recovery

To date, costs to the City from responding to COVID-19 are $11.85 million. The City is forecasting a 2020 operating deficit of $4-8 million.

To help mitigate these impacts, the City is asking all City-funded local boards and agencies to take steps to reduce their expenditures.

Victoria Road Recreation Centre

City staff will assist the Guelph Family Health Team and Guelph General Hospital on a relocation plan for the COVID-19 Screening Centre. This is necessary before the City can reopen the Victoria Road Recreation Centre and the Victor Davis pool.

Waste Innovation Resource Centre

Starting Monday, June 22, the residential waste drop-off (garbage only) will be open six days a week.

The temporary curbside yard waste collection program that was put in place in response to COVID-19 will end Saturday, July 4 and residents will be able to drop off yard waste for free at the public waste drop off starting Monday, July 6.

Also starting July 6, the household hazardous waste drop off will be open six days a week instead of five.

Residential waste drop-off (starting June 22), yard waste and household hazardous waste (starting July 6) will be open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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Resources

For up to date information about City services visit guelph.ca/covid19 follow @cityofguelph on Facebook or Twitter using #COVID19Guelph.

Health agencies

Media Contact

Tara Sprigg, General Manager, Corporate Communications and Customer Service
City of Guelph
519-829-0981
[email protected]