Waterloo Region and its seven area municipalities this morning declared states of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In doing so, regional and municipal councils have given themselves more power to take actions or make orders to protect the inhabitants of the municipality and increases the ability of municipalities to share resources, personnel and equipment to respond and support the broader public sector and key services. It also allows the Region to use and support volunteers to assist with providing critical services if needed, according to a release.
The move was made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our region and the next few days are critical in our ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The province has announced additional measures restricting non-essential services. If required, the region and area municipalities may consider taking additional measures beyond what the province has already put in place, the region warns in a statement.
Currently, the region is asking all non-essential businesses to close – as the medical officer of health has urged publicly and as the province has ordered. To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces as yesterday (March 24). Local officials say they support this action by the province and have been clear that they will support further recommendations and orders from the medical officer of health and the provincial and federal governments if people do not comply with the need to stay home.