Saturday, 15 May 2021

City of Ottawa declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency in Ottawa in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In the declaration tabled at the start of council’s first-ever virtual meeting on Wednesday, Watson wrote that COVID-19 “constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to residents of the city of Ottawa.”

Declaring a state of emergency will help the city deploy emergency operations and staff in a more “nimble” way, enable a more “flexible” procurement process to purchase equipment that front-line workers need and support the public health team, Watson said in his remarks.

The mayor is one of only two council members physically present in the council chambers at city hall on Wednesday. The rest of city council has dialled in by phone and only a handful of senior city staff are present in person.

Council is expected to pass several financial measures later in the meeting aimed at supporting residents and local businesses during what Watson described as “unprecedented times,” including property tax deferral and water bill deferral programs.

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