The City HAll Update Report
A Message And Updates From Mayor Kathryn McGarry
These are unprecedented and unsettling times as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Cambridge, I hear concerns daily from residents and businesses about how to stay safe and support our health care workers, emergency first responders and essential front line workers across the city.
The most important thing we can do to protect everyone is to follow the advice of our health care experts. Stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you have to go outside, practice physical distancing by staying at least two metres away from anyone you meet. Wash your hands frequently.
I am very proud the CAMBRIDGE sign in front of City Hall and the pedestrian bridge are now glowing blue every night, out of respect for our health care workers.
To further protect public safety, we extended our facility closures and closed outdoor recreation spaces this week, including playgrounds and sports fields. I know that this is difficult for families with young children yearning to play outside. However, the closer we stay to home, the faster our lives will return to normal. Thank you for practicing physical distancing.
And speaking of thanks, let’s not forget the workers stocking shelves, those providing care to the elderly, transit operators, personal support workers and health care workers, shelter staff, journalists, grocery store workers, mail carriers, delivery drivers, utility workers and many more. These folks are all working under great pressure and risk. In the midst of this crisis, these are the workers we all need to stay healthy.
Every single of us has a part to play in breaking the chain of infection
We can get through this together, apart.
Take care and stay safe
Temporary staff layoffs
In the face of extended facility closures and program cancellations, combined with provincial regulations, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off casual and part-time workers and delay the hiring of seasonal employees.
This is not an action we wanted to take but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our community and our City services. Unfortunately, the current situation has impacted our ability to maintain typical service staffing and hiring levels for this time of year.
We value all of our employees and we hope the situation resolves quickly so we can welcome our impacted employees back soon and return to regular business as soon as possible.
At this point, we are trying very hard to balance unexpected financial realities with treating our employees with respect and compassion, and our responsibility to our taxpayers.
The City has developed a cost containment strategy to save costs, including a freeze on discretionary spending and the redeployment of staff to support critical services.
We remain committed to providing the critical and core services our community relies on every day as we respond to this challenging situation. And we continue to do everything we possibly can to keep our employees and our community healthy and safe.
I also wanted to let you know about a great new initiative that our parks and recreation staff launched this week. They have been very creatively working to come up with options to stay connected virtually with our community during this period.
We now have a new webpage at link below in which staff will be uploading workout videos, cultural and arts activities and virtual tours for people to do from home. The page features print outs and video activities such as art exhibit tours and workouts to help you get your dose of recreation from the comfort of your own home. New activities are being added, so be sure to keep checking back.
As well, the team has launched a Facebook page specifically for the members of our 50+centres to keep in touch. And we have launched an Instagram page, specifically for youth.
These new accounts will allow these groups to keep in touch with each other, even while we’re all apart. Physical distancing does not mean we can’t be social