Provincial vaccination regulations in effect at county arenas, community halls

As of September 22, the Province of Ontario requires members of the public to be fully vaccinated to enter all indoor meeting, sports and recreation facilities, including county arenas and community halls (O. Reg. 645/21), with limited exceptions.

By provincial law, to enter any County recreation or community centre, visitors and participants must provide proof of vaccination as well as identification (e.g. driver’s license or health card), unless they meet exemption criteria identified below.

Proof of vaccination is two (2) doses of vaccine, with the second dose administered at least 14 days prior.

A copy of the vaccine receipt received after a second vaccination — or obtained through the Province of Ontario website (https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/) — will be accepted as proof of vaccination.

County staff have no ability to exempt or make exceptions to this policy, and anyone unable to provide proof of vaccination will not be allowed to enter the facility.

Visitors are asked to be respectful of staff implementing this provincial law. Arguing with, harassing or trying to intimidate staff is not acceptable and may result in being banned from the facility. In the event of harassment or threats of acts of violence, law enforcement will be contacted.

Haldimand County will continue to provide updates about the proof of vaccination regulation as required.

To further explain how this regulation will affect members of the public visiting county arenas and community halls, a comprehensive FAQ has been developed.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does this law impact children and youth (e.g. those under 18 years of age)?

All children under 12 years of age are exempt from showing proof of vaccination to enter County recreation and community facilities.

Unvaccinated youth aged 12 to 17 years of age can enter recreation/community facilities if the purpose of their visit is only to participate in an organized sport, in accordance with guidance published by the Ministry of Health.

Youth aged 12 to 17 years of age who are not participating in organized sport will be required to show proof of vaccination.

How is ‘organized sport’ defined?

Organized sport is defined as activities governed by an association or organization requiring formal registration and includes training, practice sessions and games or matches (e.g. minor hockey).

How does the regulation impact coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers supporting organized sport?

Although the provincial regulation does not require these individuals to be fully vaccinated, Haldimand County Council has made the decision to require coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated. Although this goes beyond the Province’s regulation, it is within the municipality’s authority and is intended to be consistent with the requirements for all other adults and volunteers accessing recreation and community centres for other activities (e.g. walking track, meetings, etc.) and better protects the health and safety of the public, participants, staff and volunteers at these facilities.

Given this County requirement, coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers supporting organized sport will be given until October 31 to become fully vaccinated.

How does the law impact participants attending registered drop-in programs (e.g. shinny, indoor walking, Sit to be Fit, etc.)?

Proof of vaccination is required for all participants 12 years of age or older.


How does the law impact spectators and guardians?

By law, anyone accompanying the athlete as a spectator or guardian must show proof of vaccination and proof of identify if they are 12 years of age or older.

What is the definition of fully vaccinated?

Under the law, a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if,

  • they have received,
  • the full series of COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines;
  • one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada; or,
  • three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and,
  • they received their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before providing the proof of being fully vaccinated.

What if I don’t want to disclose my vaccination status?

No one is obligated to disclose their vaccination status. However, should you make the decision not to divulge this information, you will not be permitted to enter Haldimand County recreation and community facilities.

Is anyone exempt from showing proof of vaccination?

Children under 12 years of age and youth aged 12-17 years who are actively participating in organized sport are exempt.

Persons who provide a written document—completed and supplied by a physician or registered nurse in the extended class (e.g. nurse practitioner)—that sets out the medical reason for not being fully vaccinated and the effective time period for the medical reason are exempt.

Patrons entering an indoor area solely for the following purposes: to use a washroom; to access customer service or pay a bill; to purchase admission; as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.

Will I have to show my vaccine certificate and personal identification every time I come to an Arena?

In accordance with the law, Haldimand County will not retain any vaccination or personal information shown prior to a visit. This means that proof of vaccination and personal identification will have to be shown for every visit.

By October 22, the Province of Ontario plans to have available an enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app (QR code) to provide a more secure and convenient way to show—when required—that you have been fully vaccinated.

How does the law impact rentals of meeting rooms/event spaces and community halls?

By law, anyone 12 years of age and older attending an event in a meeting room or at a community hall must show proof of vaccination and proof of identity.

The only exemptions are anyone entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a wedding service/rite/ceremony or a social gathering associated with a funeral service/rite/ceremony—on or after September 22, 2021, but before October 13, 2021—as long as the patron provides, to the person responsible for the establishment, the results of an antigen test administered within the previous 48 hours establishing that the person is negative for COVID-19.

What effect do the policies of other organizations (e.g. Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Ontario Women’s Hockey Association)–including exemptions—have on facility access?

The policies of other independent organizations have no impact on facility access and do not replace or supersede any part of the Province’s regulation, which is what the County is bound to and must administer.

I believe I am eligible for an exemption for health and safety purposes to ensure the safe access of my child. Why isn’t the County accepting this exemption?

While the provincial regulation does allow an exemption as necessary for the purpose of health safety, this is limited to access by Police, Fire and Emergency Services personnel.

I believe I am eligible for a religious exemption as part of my human rights. Why isn’t the County accepting religious exemptions?

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has indicated that, while receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, mandating proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (the Code) as long as protections are in place to ensure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated. While the Code prohibits discrimination based on creed, personal preferences and singular beliefs (e.g. religious beliefs) do not amount to a creed for the purposes of the Code. The duty to accommodate does not necessarily require an individual be exempted from vaccine mandates. The duty to accommodate can be limited if it would significantly compromise health and safety amounting to undue hardship, such as during a pandemic.

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Haldimand County Council approves COVID-19 vaccine policy for staff, volunteers

On September 21, 2021, Haldimand County Council approved a COVID-19 vaccination policy for municipal employees and volunteers.

The policy applies to all representatives of Haldimand County including all existing staff, elected officials board/committee appointees, volunteers, volunteer firefighters, the Haldimand County Library Board and its staff and volunteers.

Grandview Lodge staff and Paramedics are covered by separate policies, introduced earlier this year, as mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Health. Council amended these policies at the September 21 meeting to require mandatory vaccination for all staff in these high risk settings by November 17.

The new policy aims to fulfill the county’s commitment of providing a safe working environment and has been implemented to protect the county’s workforce and members of the public from the hazards of COVID-19.

The policy is in alignment with provincial directives and subject to limited exceptions in accordance with the Human Rights Code (Ontario), consistent with public health policy.

Existing county representatives will be required to disclose their vaccination status by no later than Monday, October 18, 2021. New employees, or employees entering into a new employment contract internally (i.e. transferring positions) must be fully vaccinated or produce an eligible exemption, as a condition of the new employment agreement.

As of Tuesday, October 19, 2021, employees who indicate they are “not fully vaccinated” or “medically exempted” must participate in regular rapid antigen testing until such time as they are considered fully immunized.

For additional details, please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (No. 2021-02).

 

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Grandview Lodge Receives $3 Million In Investing In Canada Infrastructure Program Funding

In 2020, Grandview Lodge applied for grant funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID 19 Resiliency Infrastructure Stream for Long Term Care Homes (ICIP). Grandview was approved for the full $3,223,000 requested, which will be used to replace HVAC infrastructure at the home.

“This contribution is one of the largest ever received by Haldimand County and we are very grateful to both federal and provincial governments for providing this opportunity,” said Cathy Case, General Manager of Corporate & Social Services.

“This $3M plus in funding will fill a large gap in the County’s capital budget program and will take any burden related to the costs of this replacement project off of local taxpayers,” Case added.

Case noted that a new and improved HVAC system at Grandview Lodge will benefit staff, residents and their families by increasing infection and prevention control measures throughout the home. Work on the HVAC system replacement will begin immediately.

$120 million was recently added to the provincial and territorial agreements of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to support ventilation improvement projects in public buildings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the Grandview HVAC replacement project, the ICIP funding contribution from the federal government totals $2,578,400 and the provincial contribution is $644,600.

For more information on the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program, visit the Infrastructure Canada website.

To learn more about Grandview Lodge, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/grandview-lodge.

 

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COVID-19 outbreak declared at Grandview Lodge

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has declared an outbreak at Grandview Lodge. One resident within the home has tested positive for the virus.

At this time, Grandview Lodge is working with public health to ensure the safety of all residents and staff.

Grandview Lodge wishes to reiterate the importance of getting vaccinated to reduce transmission of the virus and protect vulnerable populations, especially residents in long-term care. Approximately 95% of Grandview Lodge residents have been fully vaccinated.

Further updates will be shared as required.

Haldimand County closes additional amenities in response to new provincial regulations

On Friday, April 16, the Province of Ontario announced new regulations aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The province also extended the state of emergency and stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks. These orders/regulations will now expire on May 20, 2021 unless extended by the province.

The new regulations focus on closing outdoor amenities, reducing retail capacity/gathering limits and pausing non-essential construction. Full details regarding the new regulations are available on the Ontario Government website.

In response to requirements of the new provincial regulations, all sporting fields and multi-use courts, skate parks and pavilions will be closed until further notice.

  • Municipal boat ramps
    County-owned boat ramps will remain closed, barricaded and signed.
  • Public parks, trails, beaches and piers
    Public parks, trails, beaches and piers remain open for walk-through access only.
  • Playgrounds
    Playgrounds were initially deemed to be closed when the new regulations were announced Friday, however, the Province repealed this decision and they remain open at this time.
  • Libraries
    Libraries will remain closed to in-person service, however, contactless curbside pickup services will continue.
  • Municipal By-Law Enforcement & Building
    By-law will continue to monitor these amenities in light of new regulations and take an education-first approach to enforcement.While the County office is closed, Building staff are still doing permit application intake via email, mail or drop off at the HCAB (mail slot). They continue to process permits and also issue them for construction projects that are permitted within the new regulations.

Given the stay at home order will extend well into the spring the following implications are noted:

  1. Outdoor recreation programs such as baseball and soccer will likely be delayed from normal start times;
  2. Landscaping services are listed as a permitted service. This includes turf management, landscape lighting, landscape irrigation, grounds management, landscape construction, landscape design. As such, subject to meeting safety protocols, horticultural groups who work with the County will be permitted to continue normal spring clean-up and planting activities;
  3. Farmers’ markets are permitted to remain open, however, they are limited to essential products only (i.e. food). For this reason, vendors who sell textiles, crafts, etc. are not permitted to set up until further notice.

Staff will continue to monitor the continuously changing Provincial direction and respond accordingly.

For the most up-to-date list of what’s open and what’s closed during the stay-at-home order, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19.

 

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Haldimand County Announces Closure of Administration Building In Accordance With Provincial State of Emergency and Stay At Home Order

As a result of the Ontario Government declaring a state of emergency and issuing a province-wide stay-at-home order, Haldimand County will be closing its Administration Building to the public effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01a.m. The closure is expected to last 4 weeks, unless the stay-at-home order is extended by the Province.

While the administration building is closed, staff will be available to assist customers by phone or email during regular hours (Mon-Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm). Members of the public are encouraged to contact the County at 905-318-5932, use the Contact form at HaldimandCounty.ca/connect or info@haldimandcounty.on.ca for assistance.

A number of municipal services are also available online and do not require in-person visit. A list of alternate service options during the shutdown period is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19.

The Canborough Waste Management Facility is the only public facility that will remain open throughout the shutdown period, and only debit and credit payments will be accepted. Museums, libraries and arenas remain closed in accordance with provincial regulations, however, staff remain available to assist residents via phone/e-mail. Curbside pickup will continue to be offered at all library branches.

All Haldimand County facility closures, program cancellations, meeting postponements and other related details are available at HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19.

To learn more about what’s open/what’s closed during the Province-wide shutdown, visit the Ontario Government website.

Haldimand County Announces Facility Closures Following Province-Wide Emergency Brake Announcement

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, the Province of Ontario announced that it would be implementing a province-wide ‘emergency brake shutdown’ as a result of rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations. The province-wide emergency brake will take effect Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and is expected to last 4 weeks.

As a result of this announcement, Haldimand County will be closing a number of facilities to the public, including:

– All museums (staff will still be available to answer inquiries and requests via phone/e-mail)
– All libraries (curbside pickup only; staff will remain available to assist via phone/e-mail)
– All arenas (Note: ice rentals scheduled for tonight will continue as planned given the shutdown takes effect April 3)

All indoor recreation has been canceled and due to the length of the shutdown, ice will be removed from arenas. User groups are being notified.

Council meetings will be held virtually during the province-wide shutdown.

The Haldimand County Administration Building will remain open with strict physical distancing measures and capacity limits in place. The Canborough Waste Management Facility will also remain open, however, the Re-Use program bin will be unavailable and only debit or credit payment will be accepted.

Full details regarding municipal facilities, programs and services during the pandemic are listed on the ‘What’s Open/Closed‘ and ‘County Service Options‘ tabs at HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19.

While in-person services at the Administration Building remain available, residents are reminded that a number of municipal services are available online and do not require in-person visit.

More information on what’s permitted during the emergency brake shutdown is available on the Province of Ontario’s website.

Updates will be shared as required.

Haldimand and Norfolk Counties Commemorate 1 Year Since Declaration of COVID-19 Emergencies

On March 24, 2020, Haldimand and Norfolk counties officially declared emergencies due to COVID-19. To recognize this pivotal day and acknowledge the challenges of the past year, both counties will lower flags at administration facilities for the duration of Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

“It is important to recognize the hard work and dedication that has gone in to the local fight against COVID-19 over the past 12 months, by County staff, the Health Unit, frontline workers and the community as a whole,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “Flags lowered symbolize the extraordinary efforts put forward by the community, the many challenges faced and the hurdles we’ve overcome,” Hewitt noted.

Both mayors acknowledged the tireless work of staff, frontline workers and community members who contributed the local COVID-19 response – by way of planning for and implementing public health strategies, keeping vulnerable community members safe, volunteering, donating supplies and adhering to public health guidelines.

“COVID-19 has affected all of us in different ways. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve all had to make sacrifices to keep our community safe. Because of these collective efforts, we are in a position today where the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. Our staff and the entire community deserve a huge thanks for stepping up and doing everything possible to keep the virus at bay,” said Norfolk County Mayor/Chair of the Board of Health Kristal Chopp.

Haldimand and Norfolk counties will continue working collaboratively with public health to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and facilitate mass vaccinations in line with the Province’s rollout framework.

For more information on the local response to COVID-19, including community vaccination rollout, visit HNHU.org.

 

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COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Preparing For Community Vaccination Program In Haldimand, Norfolk Counties

Haldimand and Norfolk’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force is preparing for the vaccination of the general public over the coming months.

As per the Province’s vaccine rollout plan, vaccines are first being distributed to priority groups, such as acute healthcare workers and residents of long-term care and retirement settings.

Vaccination of Haldimand and Norfolk’s long-term care and retirement home residents is complete, while vaccination of healthcare workers continues.

Once the vaccination of healthcare workers is complete, doses will be allocated to community-residing individuals over the age of 80.

Only when all priority groups have had the opportunity to get the vaccine will it be offered to members of the public who wish to receive it.

An announcement will be made when vaccines are available to members of the general public. Updates will be provided to the community on an ongoing basis.

Due to uncertainty regarding vaccine availability and timing, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has been actively working to plan and implement community vaccination clinics.

Large amounts of vaccines could be made available at any time for certain segments of the population and in order to respond quickly, facilities must be equipped to administer a high volume of doses.

In Haldimand County, the Dunnville Community Lifespan Centre and Cayuga Memorial Arena will be utilized as community vaccine clinics.

In Norfolk County, the Vittoria and District Community Centre and Norfolk General Hospital will be used as community vaccine clinics.

For security reasons, vaccines will not be stored at these locations.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force – a joint effort of the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, Haldimand & Norfolk Counties (including Paramedic & Fire services), Norfolk General Hospital and West Haldimand General Hospital, Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and both counties’ Family Health Teams – will continue working collaboratively until residents in both counties have had the chance to receive the vaccine.

“Thanks to the guidance, hard work and dedication of the COVID-19 task force, our communities will be ready to respond once vaccines become available. With the help of our partners, we’ll be able to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine safely, widely, and quickly to as many residents as possible – an important step in our collective fight against the virus,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

“COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives, from our health and wellbeing to the local economy,” said Norfolk County Mayor and Chair of the Board of Health Kristal Chopp. “I’m thrilled that we’re starting to see light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel, and look forward to community vaccinations paving the way for a return to a more normal way of living and working.”

More information on vaccine availability and community clinics in Haldimand and Norfolk will be shared with residents as soon as details are confirmed. Residents are encouraged to read up on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine via the Ontario Government or Health Unit website.

 

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Haldimand County Re-opens in Orange; Plans Underway for Public Access to County Arenas

With the announcement by Premier Doug Ford of Haldimand County’s re-opening in the ‘orange’ or ‘restrict’ stage of the Province’s colour-coded re-opening framework, municipal staff have begun the process to re-open County Arenas.

Beginning the week of February 22, three of Haldimand County’s Arenas (two pads at Caledonia’s HCCC and one each in Dunnville and Hagersville) will re-open for minor sports programming including hockey, figure skating and ringette. The Cayuga Memorial Arena will remain closed for all recreation and the ice removed as the County prepares the facility to become a community vaccination centre in the coming weeks. Preliminary information about community vaccination clinics, including Frequently Asked Questions, is available here.

Residents are encouraged to check the County website regularly for updates about Arena programming, including future public skates and use of the walking tracks.

 

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