Navigating COVID-19

April 9, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Sandy Brown

While we continue to absorb and understand the effects of COVID-19 globally, across Canada and here in Orangeville and Dufferin County –  anxiety and uncertainty is taking a toll on individuals, families and communities. 

However, this time of uncertainty has also giving rise to incredible acts of generosity, unity and cooperation. 

As we celebrate World Health Day this week, it is easy to see that now more than ever we need to show respect, encouragement and support for our health-care professionals. On Facebook many of the Community Heroes are in fact our local front-line providers – nurses, doctors and support teams at the hospital and in our long-term care facilities are taking care of our patients and residents.  And let’s not forget our retail frontline workers at grocery, pharmacy, gas stations and convenience stores who are dealing with stressed out customers and a different work environment

Our community is standing tall and united in the face of this emergency. 

Businesses have stepped up and are donating everything from PPE medical supplies to food for front-line workers and the vulnerable.  Many residents are shopping for neighbours and checking in with phone or video calls or volunteering with service agencies. Limitations have not been put on kindness or generosity and the smallest of gestures can have a rewarding result. 

In response to the community needs, local food banks have joined together to create Dufferin Foodshare, located at the Salvation Army New Hope Church, 690 Riddell Road. Residents can get more information, including hours and how to donate food or offer financial support at 

What we do know is that COVID-19 is spread from person to person. It is highly contagious, presents a serious health risk for all people. We need to take the advice of our Chief Medical Officer and stay home. Together we can make a difference and reduce the spread. 

Limiting your contact with people outside is necessary to stop the  spread of COVID-19. Staying at home and only leaving for essentials – groceries, prescriptions, health care appointments and some daily outdoor exercise like walking should be your only reason to leave. 

Regulations are in place to limit social gatherings; all public buildings and playgrounds, tennis courts, the dog park are closed. For public safety, Island Lake Conservation Centre and local trails are also closed. Fines are stiff for those who do not follow the guidelines

All three levels of government are working together to support individuals, families and businesses, within their areas of responsibility.   In an emergency it is natural to seek out information from a variety of sources. Knowledge allows us to make decisions and plans to protect our families, careers, businesses and communities and feel control in this rapidly evolving situation. The Federal government has passed the Canada Emergency Response Benefit package to support workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. This new benefit will provide $2,000 each month for four months. Businesses can find financial support to continue to assist employees working from home and to avoid lay-offs and rehiring later. 

In addition, there are enhancements to the Child Tax Credit and GST rebate programs. Details of these and other programs can be found at the government website ( or our Federal MP Kyle Seeback’s website (, both sites will give you the latest information. 

The Ontario government has updated the list of essential services and implemented new mandates for construction sites and some closures of non-essential building. Students have resumed their classes online by using technology and the internet to connect with teachers and learning tools. The entire list of COVID-19 related changes can be found at the Government of Ontario website ( or our MPP Sylvia Jones’ website ( and are updated on a regular basis.     

Orangeville Council is holding virtual meetings and have waived late fees and interest penalties for all classes of taxes and on your hydro and water bills. Our Economic Development department is supporting small businesses and are available for assistance. Info-sessions and Council Coffee Chats are available online and answer many resident questions about resources for you, your family and your business.  Public Transit is now free. 

There is no right way to feel right now, but there is also no need to struggle alone. Reaching out may look different, but it can be done. Virtual Easter dinners, church services and counselling appointments are being planned and/or can be arranged.   

I remain confident that we can make it through these challenging times by listening to the healthcare professionals and following their advice. 

I wish you and your families a safe and healthy week. We will get through this together. 

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