Augusta Council wishes everyone a Happy Canada Day!

Augusta Council wishes everyone a Happy Canada Day!

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

(As published in the South Grenville Journal – Wednesday, July 1, 2020)

What a difference a year makes!

In March of 2020, COVID 19 hit Canada and necessitated closures by the provincial government of everything that was not declared to be an essential service.  After that, everyone what was not providing an essential service were asked to self-isolate and to follow measures, including those adopted by stores to prevent spreading the COVID-19 infection.  Social isolating meant common social and family activities like: grandparents physically visiting grandchildren to talk, share stories and celebrate birthdays; children playing and interacting with friends; family and friends gathering in a celebration of life for a family member or friend who passed away became impossible.

Perhaps worst of all, and the impact has yet to be determined, businesses were shuttered throwing many of the region’s resident out of their jobs.  As Canada day approaches, I am somewhat relieved and encouraged with the provincial government opening up the businesses and lifting social prohibitions and limitations.  I am relieved because we earned it by doing what was necessary to flatten the curve; I am encouraged because I’m hopeful that Canada Day will be our new calendar marker when we began to normalize our lives.  That said, as Augusta Township Mayor and Chair of the Board of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGLDHU), I need to remind everyone against becoming careless and have the house of cards fall back on us.  A few days again, the LGLDHU issued a Canada Day message which bears repeating here.  The LGLDHU advisory essentially reads as follows:

“Canada Day is a good time to celebrate how resilient we have been as a nation and community” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health.  “Over these past months we’ve gone to great lengths together to flatten the COVID-19 curve, so let’s continue with all the public health measures this Canada day, and beyond”.  Whether you are exploring our beautiful landscape ‘far and wide’ or sticking close to home, the Health Unit has some reminders and suggestions for your celebration.

  • If planning to travel, learn about and respect municipal and provincial precautions and restrictions in place.  Do not travel if sick.
  • Check out the Government of Canada’s virtual celebrations and join the conversation on their social media platforms.
  • Celebrate on a smaller scale.  Remember that the Provincial emergency order is still in place limiting social gatherings to a total of 10 people or less.  Physical distancing of at least two metres should be maintained with those outside of your social circle.
  • If serving food at your small gathering, avoid sharing food from the same plate with those outside of your social circle.  Follow the four steps to food safety (clean, separate, cook & chill) and provide individual dishes and cutlery for guests.  Offer hand sanitizer or a place to wash hands before and after eating.  Encourage guests to dispose of their own garbage.
  • Have fun decorating your house, and yourself, in red and white and listening to some great Canadian music.  But if you want to sign, stay at least 12 feet away from those outside your social circle, as respiratory droplets can travel further while singing.  Consider using noisemakers instead of shouting in celebration.
  • If your plans involve camping or picnicking, use these tips for food on the go.  Consider choosing foods that do not require special care and are shelf stable at room temperature and require less handling.
  • Exploring a local trail may be on the agenda.  Check to see if it is open ahead of time, and what precautions are being advised.  Be aware of tick and dangerous weeds.
  • If it’s a hot and humid day, take precautions.
  • Local beaches are not able to be tested for water safety during the week of Canada Day but you can check with your local municipalities about which beaches are open; before going out, think about issues that may affect the quality and safety of the water, such as heavy rain in the area within 24 hours and water fowl droppings in the water or on the beach as these may contribute to high bacteria levels.
  • Fill you sand bucket with these tips before heading out to the beach: practice physical distancing and hand hygiene; avoid spitting when in the water; be prepared as not all change rooms may be open.

Happy Canada Day everyone!