VIDEO: Windsor to Close Public Facilities to Combat COVID-19
Windsor's municipal facilities will close to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit confirmed there are zero confirmed cases of the virus in Essex County as of Saturday morning and the city wants to keep it that way.
- All City of Windsor public facilities of a recreation nature- arenas, pools, museums and community centres will close effective the end of normal operating hours tomorrow evening, Sunday March 15
- This change will remain in effect at least until Monday April 6, consistent with Ontario Ministry of Education's school closures
- Windsor Public Transit will remain in service and unaffected by these other service changes, at this time
- To the greatest extent possible, City staff who would regularly support the maintenance and operations of public municipal facilities will be redeployed to increase cleaning of the City of Windsor facilities (i.e. City Hall) which will remain open
- The Windsor Public Library Board is implementing the same service level closures as the City of Windsor and will support continued e-services
Ward 6 Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac will be acting mayor until Mayor Drew Dilkens returns from a family vacation in Jordan and he completes his 14-day quarantine.
She tells AM800 News the city is exercising an "overabundance of caution."
"From my perspective, you may be criticized for taking these measures by some people, but if you don't take the measures and there's a terrible consequence then you're going to be condemned," she says. "Our responsibility is to do whatever we can to protect our residents."
Chief Administrative Officer Onorio Colucci says the short term inconvenience is the best decision for residents long term.
"We're mindful of the disruption to peoples' lives that were planning to use those facilities, but at the end of the day we have to be primarily concerned with the health and safety of our residents and our employees," says Colucci.
Dilkens says his family left for their vacation on March 6, long before Wednesday's announcement of an international pandemic and the federal government's call for Canadians to return home while they still can.
He says he'll continue to contribute to city decisions.
"Some people say I'm on vacation, but I've done a whole lot more work in the last three or four days and certainly don't regret it because that's the function of mayor's role," he says. "I will absolutely continue to be involved until the end of my isolation."
Dilkens says his family is in good health and will catch a flight back to Canada early Monday morning.
The health unit says the risk of contracting the virus in Windsor-Essex is still very low at this time.