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BREAKING NEWS: Orillia officially declares state of emergency

'Declaring a state of emergency is not done to incite panic, but to demonstrate how necessary meaningful action by everyone is,' says mayor
Photo: Tube containing a swab sample that has tested positive for COVID-19/Shutterstock

Today, March 20, 2020, at 8:27 p.m. Mayor Steve Clarke declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19 in the City of Orillia.

“This is indeed an unprecedented time that most of us never have experienced in our lifetime. Declaring a state of emergency is not done to incite panic, but to demonstrate how necessary meaningful action by everyone is. It also allows our city to dedicate more resources and be in a better position to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus,” said Mayor Clarke.

“We know our citizens have the ability to ‘flatten the curve’ of this outbreak and lessen the spread of the COVID-19 virus by strictly following the mandated hygienic practices laid out by public health officials. If we do not do this, our community will become very sick and there is no way our health care providers will be able to keep up.”

Declaring an emergency provides the City of Orillia with additional powers and resources to protect the health and safety of the Orillia community and streamlines the decision making process for expediency through the City’s Emergency Control Group. This declaration aligns with the Government of Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency made March 17, 2020.

In addition to declaring a State of Emergency, the following measures were put in place to assist Orillia citizens, businesses, and community organizations that are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Establish an emergency fund of $100,000 to be distributed to critical lead service providers on an as-needed basis, to be determined and administered through a review process of a review panel consisting of the Mayor/Coun. Lauer, the Chief Administrative Officer and City Treasurer.
  • Waive Orillia Transit fees until further notice.
  • Waive tax penalty through to June 30, 2020 (Includes both residential and businesses);
  • Waive water and sewer penalty through to June 30, 2020 (includes both residential and businesses);
  • Waive parking fees through to April 30, 2020.
  • Defer implementation of the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) from April 6, 2020 to Sept. 1, 2020.
  • Defer the second annual intake of the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan (DTCIP) from the last day of April to the last day of June 2020.

“The City is committed to working together with our community partners to assist Orillia’s families, vulnerable populations, businesses, and our community as a whole,” said Mayor Clarke. “Council and staff continue to monitor, evaluate and respond accordingly to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and will continue to proactively seek measures we can put in place to support Orillia throughout this very challenging time.”

As details are finalized regarding these new measures, information will be made available on the City of Orillia’s website at The City of Orillia has closed all City operated facilities for public access with the exception of City Centre in order to access Service Canada. For a full list of facilities affected and how services are being provided, please visit the City’s website.

It is extremely important that everyone in Orillia practice social distancing and good hygienic practices at all times. You must do the following:

  • Practice social distancing of at least two metres (six feet)
  • Frequently wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • If you have any symptoms, self-monitor and self-isolate and contact a healthcare professional if symptoms persist
  • If you have travelled recently, ensure you self-isolate for 14 days
  • If you have, or suspect you have COVID-19, complete a self-assessment, contact your local healthcare provider or visit a local assessment centre. Do not visit your local doctor or emergency room.

COVID-19 Orillia Assessment Centre:

Location: Kiwanis building on Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital’s campus.
Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (The last patient will be seen at 6:30 p.m.) 

The public can access this drive-thru clinic from the Volunteer Drive entrance – please note Volunteer Drive has temporarily been designated a one-way street and the public are asked to enter from Mississaga Street. If you think you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, please review the self-assessment tool to help you determine if you need to come to our Assessment Centre.

For more information on the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Orillia visit:

For COVID-19 updates from the SMDHU visit:



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