COVID-19

Washagmis Bay First Nation – Community Update COVID – 19

Washagamis Bay First Nation

April 19th, 2020

Click here to download WBFN Covid-19 Update as PDF

Upon further clarification of the current non-essential business and closures, we would like to provide the following information to all cottager owners and contractors.

Effective April 20th, 2020 at 11pm the community will enforce the following:

  • As per the direction of the Ontario government, all construction and renovations on recreational properties must stop immediately. This includes seasonal cottages. All current contractor passes are revoked after this date.
  • Renovations on residential homes can only continue if they started on or before April 4th, 2020. The First Nation requires written confirmation that the projects are allowed under the current guidelines by Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 or contractors and suppliers will not be permitted to access the road.
  • Emergency repairs to a property are permitted with advance notice sent to washagamis.ggconsult@outlook.com. It is expected that the repairs will only entail fixing immediate issues and not extensive renovations
  • Any construction or maintenance required to close any current construction and renovation sites that are paused due to the COVID 19 emergency will be permitted for a limited period.
  • No new contractor and supplier access will be permitted unless the repair, construction or renovation is permitted by current Ontario non-essential service provider guidelines. Property owners are required to get written permission for these projects to move forward so any access can be granted.
  • At anytime, the Ontario Provincial Police, Treaty 3 Police Services and/or the Ministry of Labour may visit each property that have renovation and construction projects to determine if they are compliant with the current Ontario non-essential service provider guidelines

Please be aware that Washagmis Bay First Nation is followed restrictions and directives from the Ontario provincial government. The First Nation is required to follow these restrictions and directives and no exceptions will be made.

Miigwetch!
Chief and Council

Emergency Numbers:

  • Treaty Three Police: 1-807-548-5474
  • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
  • OPP: 1-800-310-1122
  • AAFS: 1-807-468-6224
  • Kenora Ambulance:1-807-468-3311

 

CURRENT ONTARIO ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

The following is a list of the permitted essential service providers who will be able to access cottage or community properties. The list includes services that the First Nation anticipates would need to access cottage or community properties. This list is effective April 4th and may change without notice:

MAINTENANCE

20. Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.

CONSTRUCTION

27. Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.

28. Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.

29. Critical industrial construction activities required for,

i. the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
ii. significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
iii. industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

30. Residential construction projects where,

i. a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
ii. an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
iii. the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.

31. Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

SHORT TERM RENTALS

1. Every person who provides short term rentals in rental accommodations shall ensure that any rentals booked after April 4, 2020 are only provided to individuals who are in need of housing during the emergency period.

2. Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of hotels, motels and student residences.

If you have a choice – stay home

Stay home during Covid-19

 

During the COVID-19 situation, the First Nation has developed a procedure of dashboard passes to limit access on the reserve road to our members. But they are concerned about their safety and that of their community due to a sudden influx of cottagers. The First Nation, as well as public health officials, are requesting that anyone who has a choice stays at home and does not visit their lake property.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada made this appeal recently:

“Urban dwellers/Cottagers should RESIST THE URGE to head to the cottage and rural properties as these communities have less capacity to manage COVID19.”

FOCA (Federation of Ontario Cottager’s Associations) has explained on their website:

Our rural communities have reduced capacity to accommodate sudden changes in supply demands. Many of us wouldn’t ordinarily open the cottage until nearer to the May long weekend. As we already know from our local grocery experiences, parts of the supply chain are under strain. Additionally, rural hospitals have limited capacity and resources, and you should consider where your health needs can best be met, in an emergency situation.

Furthermore, Dr. Sean Moore, chief of emergency services at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital advises:

“It’s not essential to go into a camp if you have another home in Winnipeg. Please, I would plead with people to try and respect the fact that we’re all trying to do our best to muck through this time of COVID.”

The local hospital only has 4 ICU beds, and presently five of the hospital’s physicians are in quarantine with flu-like symptoms.

“Stay where your doctor is, because we can’t provide that care that’s going to be necessary,” he said. “If, for some reason, you need to get to the emergency department, it’s going to be a mess.”

FOCA also has issued the following guidelines for those already self – isolating at the cottage:

  • Provision yourself (with food, drink, gas, hardware supplies, prescriptions) before leaving your off-season community, so that you will not need to make stops along the way. This is not the time for our usual credo to “buy local” in cottage country.
  • Continue to follow all the principles of social distancing at the cottage! Although cottage country is usually the place for relaxed rules, that cannot be the case anywhere for the foreseeable future. Cottages are often the gathering places for multiple households in an extended family; for now, and possibly for some time to come, that could put everyone at risk.
  • Develop an exit plan with immediate family, in case you develop any indications of illness while at your waterfront property.

Summer Residents Requested to Delay Their Return

Summer Residents Requested to Delay Their Return

Mayor Daniel Reynard joins Premier Doug Ford, Member of Provincial Parliament, Greg Rickford and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Doctor Theresa Tam asking our summer residents to stay in their permanent home and not come to their cottages and summer residences.

Health experts advise that if we want to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 everyone needs to stop moving. Stay put and do not put any more exposure to anyone anywhere. The most reliable way to do this is to simply stay home.

“This is a difficult request to make to our valued summer residents and visitors. They are vital to our business community and as spring starts to appear, become a valued part of our community. Asking visitors and summer residents not to come to Kenora is everything opposite that Kenora has been working for, but we really need everyone to just stay home. It is key to making the difference in the spread of this virus by what we have seen in other countries. We simply need everyone to follow the direction of the health experts. The bottom line is our local health care providers will not have the resources or capacity to meet the demands of a growing summer population” states Mayor Reynard.

While everyone wants to resume their regular activities and enjoy the things we have always done, we all need to be unified during this time and accept the critical advice the health experts are telling us. If we do this now, the sooner life can resume to activities we all enjoy. Now is the time to act, but we must act together. Please summer residents and visitors, stay home, and members of our community, please do the same and refrain from any travel outside of our community that is non-urgent.

“Public health officials at the federal, provincial and local level, across the country have strongly stressed that all Canadians must do their part to keep the surge of novel coronavirus as low as possible by staying at home, unless absolutely necessary”, said Dr. Ian Gemmill, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Northwestern Ontario. “In that way, the transmission of the virus to others will be slowed, and lives can be saved. This measure applies as well to people who own recreational properties in the northwest, no matter where their primary residence may be: stay at home, and keep the virus at bay. If all Canadians comply with this measure, including seasonal residents of Northwestern Ontario, we will have a chance to reduce the surge that will affect all health services, including public health and would have such a devastating effect on resources for the critically ill, which some of us may need over the next several months. Even more important, our communities in the northwest do not have the resources to deal with illness in seasonal residents.”

“This is a serious issue for Northwestern communities. We don’t have hospital capacity and the public health risk is too high for people to make leisure visits or open their camps early,” said Minister Greg Rickford. “I am working closely with my provincial colleagues to review all options necessary to protect Kenora-Rainy River’s health care and supply networks.”

This urgent request also pertains to our citizens travelling to other areas of Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba. Please stop moving for all non-urgent travel, you are putting everyone at risk by continuing this non-essential movement.

Mayor Reynard notes that when we beat this virus together by practicing all of the direction of our health care experts, which staying home is the biggest factor, we will welcome everyone back to Kenora with open arms.

Stay well.  Stay home.

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