During Monday’s Jan. 25 council meeting, CAO Marnie Cluckie addressed two industries affected by the shut-down, trying to help residents and business owners who have contacted the town with questions.
The first is regarding construction companies, with owners confused about what is permitted.
While large-scale construction is allowed to continue, there are many questions about smaller businesses, and councillors may be receiving calls requesting clarification.
The legislation is extensive, she says, and questions should be directed to the town’s dedicated email, firstname.lastname@example.org, which was set up originally for residents to direct their complaints and concerns to one location.
“We track it and respond as soon as possible, and make sure complaints don’t slip through the cracks,” says Cluckie.
Planning director Craig Larmour and his team provide direction on how to interpret legislation provided by the province, including communication between regional emergency control groups through the town’s fire chief.
Referring questions to the COVID complaint email address gives the planning department an opportunity to “revisit information we’ve shared,” says Larmour.
Cluckie also provided an update on the dog grooming industry, answering the question about who is allowed to open.
Last week she promised to approach the province about the legislation, which seemed confusing and is being interpreted differently in other Niagara municipalities. NOTL interpreted provincial legislation as saying dog groomers are non-essential, even for health and wellness treatments, and must close.
Cluckie confirmed that Monday, saying she had just received clarification from the province.
She says only veterinarians can provide health and wellness grooming services, and dog groomers must remain closed.
Dog walkers can only walk their own dogs, she added, and trainers may only train service animals.
Coun. Erwin Wiens provided a short update on offshore workers, saying a small number have already arrived. Farm workers heading to Canada will need a negative COVID test two days before they leave their home country, and will quarantine for 14 days when they get to their place of employment.
There are some new rules that have been introduced for this year’s seasonal workers, including having bunks that are six metres apart, and fewer people per house.
Also, some federal funding is being provided for personal protective equipment for them, he said.
The majority coming for 2021 begins Feb. 20, with about 2,000 workers expected to arrive.
“The season is starting, and we’re prepared for it.”