Storm and emergency updates

Suburbs

COVID-19 Update

The City of Kitchener’s response to public health emergencies is led by Region of Waterloo Public Health. We have full confidence in our local healthcare system and are committed to working closely with local hospitals, health care and community partners, the Ministry of Health and Long Term CarePublic Health Ontario and national partners to monitor and respond accordingly to the COVID-19 situation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve around the world and in our local community, the health and wellbeing of Kitchener residents remains our top priority. City of Kitchener, along with the Region of Waterloo, City of Waterloo, City of Cambridge and the regional Townships declared a State of Emergency on March 25, 2020. This declaration is a precaution, giving the City of Kitchener and its local municipal partners more speed and flexibility to make important decisions that protect the safety and wellbeing of our residents.

The Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health provided updated guidance to support public health units in managing and responding to this ongoing issue. Based on this update, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, has recommended an increased emphasis on social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus within the community.

In response, the City of Kitchener, the region and all area municipalities have made significant changes to services and programming. 

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On this page you will find:

Closures and cancellations

Beginning Monday, March 16 the following changes will remain in effect until May 4 and will be evaluated on an ongoing basis:

Facility closures

  • All city facilities, including Kitchener City Hall, the Kitchener Operations Facility (KOF) and the Kitchener Market, will be closed to the public. This decision is in addition to the closure of our recreation and cultural facilities. Customers will be encouraged to delay non-essential business with the city or to consider conducting their business online or by phone where possible.
  • All cultural and recreational facilities will be closed to the public from March 16 to May 4. This includes all arenas, pools, community centres and Kitchener public libraries.
  • Kitchener Cemeteries - Woodland and Williamsburg cemeteries' offices are closed and they will only be meeting with families by appointment for those families who have experienced a loss. For more information, please visit the Kitchener Cemeteries' website.

Cancellations

  • Camps
    • The province has issued guidance to licensed childcare providers which requires active screening for program participants, staff and volunteers. The City of Kitchener does not have the capacity or resources to enact these enhanced requirements; as a result, all Kitchener camps will be cancelled from March 16 to May 4.
  • Recreation programs and activities
    • Given that all regional municipalities will be extending the closure of city facilities until May 4, staff are currently working to determine the impacts of this decision on programming. More information related to program cancellations and refunds will be available soon.

  • Kitchener city council and committee meetings
    • All Kitchener city council and committee meetings have been cancelled until May 4.
  • Public meetings
    • All previously scheduled public meetings have been cancelled until May 4.

This is a rapidly evolving situation; discussions and decisions are being made on an ongoing basis. Any changes in operations will be communicated and posted to this webpage.

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The city is taking action to prevent the spread of germs and viruses

  • Increased signage of good hygiene and disease prevention has been posted to all city facilities.
  • Facility staff is ensuring all soap dispensers in city facilities are replenished and are in good working order. The temperature of the water has been increased at all hand washing stations in city facilities.
  • Increased cleaning procedures have been adopted for high touch surfaces at city facilities.
  • The city is not booking new public meetings or facility rentals until further notice
  • The city has cancelled all non-essential, out of region staff travel as well as staff attendance at conferences until further notice.
  • The city has activated its emergency management plan, staff is meeting frequently to address urgent issues and to plan for the potential escalation of risk if directed by Public Health. 

News

Who to contact

Symptoms and treatment:

City of Kitchener program, services and operations:

  • For more information about City of Kitchener programs, services and operations contact us over email info@kitchener.ca and/or calling our 24/7 corporate contact centre at 519-741-2345.

Neighbourhood programs at community centres:

Frequently asked questions

State of Emergency:

Programs and camps:

Events:

Pools, arenas, community centres, facilities, parks, trails and outdoor spaces:

Refunds:

Services and operations:

Businesses:

Meetings:

Public health information:

State of Emergency

What is a State of Emergency and how does that change things?

Across Canada, cities are using a State of Emergency declaration in order to position themselves to act quickly to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. The City of Kitchener declared a State of Emergency today along with all six other municipalities in Waterloo Region. This declaration is a precaution, giving the City of Kitchener and its local municipal partners more speed and flexibility to make important decisions that protect the safety and wellbeing of our residents. Our City will be better able to implement future Public Health directives from the Region of Waterloo and the Province of Ontario and continue our work providing essential services to the public. No new Federal or Provincial funding is attached to the declaration.

Programs and camps

Is the city cancelling camps/programs?

Together with the Region of Waterloo, the City of Kitchener has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that our response is agile, measured, and based on evidence and best practices. With the situation quickly evolving and with direction from the region, the city will be cancelling all programs scheduled for the week of March 16 to May 4, as a measure to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community.

This was a difficult decision to make, knowing the significant impact that these cancellations will have on the children and families who were relying on our programming, and we sincerely regret the disruption it will cause. However, the safety and wellbeing of your children, and our community at large is our top priority and we believe this decision is in the best interest of our collective health.

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Events:

Is the city cancelling events? What about third-party events hosted at your facilities? 

With the situation quickly evolving and with direction from the Region, the City will be cancelling all city events and events hosted in city facilities from March 16 to May 4, as a measure to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community. For information about your specific event or rental, please contact the city department/staff person you have rented or booked a facility through.

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Pools, arenas, community centres, facilities:

What City buildings are closed until at least May 4?

The Province of Ontario has made it clear that every Ontario resident should stay home unless absolutely necessary to reduce their exposure to other people and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. All of the City’s community centres, pools, arenas, public libraries, the Kitchener Market and Kitchener City Hall remain closed to the public until at least May 4.

What outdoor City facilities or amenities are closed until at least May 4?

 The Province of Ontario has made it clear that every Ontario resident should stay home unless absolutely necessary to reduce their exposure to other people and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. A recent emergency order from the provincial government closed all outdoor shared or communal amenities including: playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields, dog parks, basketball and tennis courts, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment and condo parks and gardens. These amenities are also closed until at least May 4.

Are parks actually open/can I go to the park?

The Province of Ontario has made it clear that every Ontario resident should stay home unless absolutely necessary to reduce their exposure to other people and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. With the nice weather, many individuals and families will be tempted to visit local parks, however, these areas should not be a destination for residents during the pandemic. While all amenities within the park – anything you can touch, climb on, sit on or use – are closed, parks remain open for walk-through access only. When walking in a City park, residents should always practice the 2m physical distancing guideline and it is recommended that you wash your hands immediately upon returning home.

Residents should not plan activities at parks, there should be no congregating and no activities with family or friends using the open spaces or sports fields within the parks. Additionally, parks and sports fields are not to be used as off-leash dog parks. There are currently no leash-free zones in Kitchener and, as always, there will be zero tolerance for dogs off leash on public property – fines will apply for non-compliance. More than 500 signs throughout City parks are posted to help educate residents about the closures and prohibited uses of park spaces and ensure compliance. The City’s Bylaw enforcement team is monitoring parks, trails, community centres and sports fields and fines will be laid for non-compliance. These are temporary measures that will be in place until the province lifts the emergency order related to community amenities.

When are city parks open?
City parks are open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Can I walk on the City’s trails/are trails open?

The Province of Ontario has made it clear that every Ontario resident should stay home unless absolutely necessary to reduce their exposure to other people and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The City’s trails remain open, however just because they remain open, does not mean they should be a destination for residents during the pandemic. People should not travel to trails, particularly by car. Instead, residents who do not live near a trail who wish to be outdoors should walk within their own neighbourhoods. No matter where you are walking, you should always practice the 2m physical distancing guideline and, if you are walking with a dog, they should be kept on a leash at all times. The City’s Bylaw enforcement team is monitoring parks, trails, community centres and sports fields and charges will be laid for non-compliance. These are temporary measures that will be in place until the province lifts the emergency order related to community amenities.

Will operations at the Kitchener Market be affected? 

All city facilities, including Kitchener City Hall, the Kitchener Operations Facility (KOF) and the Kitchener Market, will closed to the public. This decision is in addition to the closure of our recreation and cultural facilities. 

Will pools, arenas and community centres remain open?

All programs and activities offered in city facilities including community centres, pools, etc. will be cancelled and the facility will remain closed from March 16 to May 4. Refunds will be given to registrants for city-run programs.

Will City Hall remain open?
City Hall and the Kitchener Operations Facility will be closed to the public effective March 17 at end-of-day. Where possible, residents are asked to consider conducting business by phone, or online.

Is the parking garage at City Hall still open?
Parking garages that will remain open include Duke & Benton, Charles & Benton, all downtown and hospital area municipal surface lots, and all downtown on-street parking spaces. Full listing here: www.kitchener.ca/parkinglocations

Parking garages that will be closed include Kitchener City Hall, Kitchener Market, and Civic District garages. Those with City-issued parking transponders will be able to gain access to City parking garages.

Are courts affected? 
Yes. Basketball, tennis and other courts are closed to the public.

Are there any washrooms open downtown?
The 24/7 Carl Zehr Square washrooms are available for public use. Construction on the square will commence the week of March 23 and the City may need to revisit keeping these open. There are also washrooms open to the public at the former regional transit centre on Charles Street from 7 a.m.to 11 p.m.

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Refunds:

City-run program has been cancelled but I’ve paid for a program/class, will I get a refund?

Given that all regional municipalities will be extending the closure of city facilities until May 4, staff are currently working to determine the impacts of this decision on programming. More information related to program cancellations and refunds will be available soon.

If I am a monthly subscriber to a city parking garage, will I get a refund/reimbursement for parking not used between now and April 6?
Monthly parking customers will receive a full refund on their account reimbursing parking fees, for a full 3 weeks, from March 16 to April 6, 2020. However, on April 6, Parking will resume its normal operation as parking and appropriate parking facilities are a necessary support for essential services.

I’m a monthly subscriber to a city parking garage, can I suspend my parking? 

Yes, customers will be given the option to temporarily suspend and deactivate their monthly parking permit/transponder without penalty or fear of losing their parking space at city parking facilities. To temporarily suspend your parking (deactivate access/use and stop parking invoices), you must email our parking staff team. Be sure to provide your name, customer account number, and the parking facility where you currently park. After normal operations resume, and upon your request, access will be reactivated and parking fees reinstated.

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Services and operations:

People are being asked to stay home, why do I see city staff out working?
There are some critical city services that we must continue to provide to the community during this time. Kitchener Fire dispatch, by-law enforcement, park maintenance (including grass cutting) and parks, roads, traffic, and sewer operations are some examples of services that will continue operations in service to the community.

Will garbage collection/recycling still occur?
Yes. Waste collection is considered a critical service provided by the Region and will not be disrupted by a temporary cancellation of non-essential municipal services. Residents are still encouraged to set items out for 7 a.m., properly sort, prepare and place items curbside. Residents can complete this online form should they experience any curbside issues/concerns during this period.

Do I still have to pay property taxes?

Tax payments will continue to be accepted and processed by the City of Kitchener during this period. Residents have a number of options to pay their bills online or via mail, details of which can be found on our Tax Payment Options page. 

The City of Kitchener will waive penalties and interest charges for property tax and utility payments until May 31.

Will construction/road projects continue?
Yes. At this time, we are working with all of our contractors to ensure workers are safe.  We are modifying our processes and procedures to eliminate or reduce face to face interactions between residents and workers.  Contractors already have new policies and procedures in place in response to this evolving situation and we will continue working with them to develop and implement contingency plans for projects as needed.  

Will the Corporate Contact Centre still be available to answer questions?
Yes. The city’s corporate contact centre will be available 24/7 to answer questions. To reach them, call 519-741-2345 or email info@kitchener.ca

How do I go about seeking city services like bill payments, licensing, etc.?
Where possible, residents are encouraged to make bill payments online or by phone. For further assistance, reach out to the City’s corporate contact centre at 519-741-2345 or email info@kitchener.ca.

What services am I able to access online?
Tax and utility billing, parking information, and contact information to report city problems to the corporate contact centre are examples of eServices available online. To learn more, visit the City’s eServices webpage.

What bylaws will still be enforced?
The city will continue to enforce any bylaws related to the health and safety of our residents and staff will only be responding to parking enforcement requests that are safety-related.

Do I still have to pay my utilities bills?

Utility bills will continue to be accepted and processed by the City of Kitchener. There are several options to pay your Kitchener Utility bill online or by mail. To learn more, visit Kitchener Utilities Payment Options page. 

To help alleviate some of the financial burden, the City of Kitchener will waive penalties and interest charges for property tax and utility payments until May 31. Utility collection notices and disconnections are suspended during this period.  

I make my bill payments in-person. Now what do I do?
Payments can be made in a variety of ways, including over the phone or online. Information on payment options can be found on the following Kitchener.ca pages:

How do I connect with the city if I need to while facilities are closed?
The city’s corporate contact centre will be available 24/7 to answer questions. To reach them, call 519-741-2345 or email info@kitchener.ca.

When will all city services be made available again?
The City of Kitchener’s response to COVID-19 is led by Region of Waterloo Public Health. Together with the Region of Waterloo, Kitchener has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that our response is agile and measured and based on evidence and best practices. While we recognize that Kitchener residents rely on our services, our top priority remains the safety of our employees and members of the community. The closure of city facilities will be effective as of March 17 at end-of-day and will continue up until and including May 4. We will review this decision at that time and communicate any changes to the public. To receive instant updates, subscribe to this page by clicking on the yellow "subscribe to this page" button below.

How will I know when city services resume?
The City will be providing regular updates on our website and social media channels. To learn more about the city’s response and to receive instant updates, subscribe to this page by clicking on the yellow "subscribe to this page" button below.

Will there be an impact to public transit? GRT? LRT?
According to the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, the operator of Grand River Transit, this service is still operating. This includes buses, MobilityPLUS and ION trains. However, there are changes to ION service levels effective Monday, March 16. For more information, visit www.grt.ca

City Hall is closed but can I still apply for a marriage license?

At this time, marriage licenses are not being processed or issued. This will be in effect until at least May 4. Please check the City’s website and social media channels often for updates on when facilities will reopen, and all City services will resume. 

For  questions, please contact the manager of licensing, Helen Fylactou or phone 519-741-2200 ext. 7854.

I want to apply for a heritage grant, can I still do so?
The deadline for heritage grants applications have been extended to April 30, 2020. For more information visit our heritage funding website page.

Is the City of Kitchener still conducting building inspections?

The City of Kitchener will continue reviewing development plans using digital and virtual software and will continue inspections of unoccupied buildings following provincial direction.  

Inspections of permits for occupied buildings, such as renovations and interior alterations, are paused. 

Will my pre-authorized payments for April and May be automatically suspended?
If you are a customer on a pre-authorized payment plan and you wish to cancel your pre-authorized payments, please submit your cancellation request to the Revenue Division at least two business days before the next withdrawal date to withdraw from the plan.

Why is there no on-street parking downtown Kitchener? 

In an effort to promote physical distancing, the City has widened the sidewalk along King Street from Frederick St. to Francis St. by installing bollards allowing residents more space to physically distance themselves when out for necessary trips downtown Kitchener. The bollards located downtown King St. (traditionally used seasonally to create patio spaces) allow for a widened pedestrian experience and improved access to necessary essentials downtown including food retailers, pharmacies and other essential services.  

Vehicle traffic along King St. will be maintained and although parking bays are unavailable, 15 minute curbside pickup is permitted. Deliveries are encouraged to take place in lane-ways and adjacent side streets.

Free parking is also available in City lots after 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.

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Businesses

I am a City of Kitchener commercial tenant / Kitchener Market vendor / 44 Gaukel artist, what supports are available?

Over 80 vendors and small businesses lease or sub-lease space in City of Kitchener owned commercial spaces, like Kitchener Market and 44 Gaukel. Tenants of City-owned commercial spaces can apply for a reduction in lease and license payments if their business has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Each facility and lease arrangement is unique. City of Kitchener staff will consider relief in the form of rebated, forgiven or deferred lease payments on a case-by-case basis.

  • For Kitchener Market vendors, please contact Kim Gallagher for more information.
  • For tenants of 44 Gaukel, please contact Eric Rumble for more information.
  • For all other tenants, please contact Brian Bennett for more information.

I’m a business owner but I’m unclear if my business is considered essential or non-essential by the province?

On March 23, the Province of Ontario announced that all non-essential businesses are to close by the end of day on March 24. For information on which workplaces are deemed essential by the Province, visit Government of Ontario – List of essential workplaces. 

The Province of Ontario has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health. For more information visit Stop the Spread Business Information Line

City Hall is closed but can I still apply for a business license?

 As of April 6, staff will begin processing business license renewals remotely. Due dates for business license renewals continue to be extended until City Hall resumes regular operations. Renewals will only be accepted through mail or can be dropped off at the outdoor mail drop box (located at City Hall Young Street entrance) and with payment made by cheque. 

For specific question on your application, please contact the manager of licensing, Helen Fylactou or phone 519-741-2200 ext. 7854.

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Meetings:

Are council and committee meetings cancelled?
All Advisory Committees have been cancelled until May 4.  Please consult the online Council Calendar for a current listing of meetings, agendas and cancellations. 

Will previously planned public meetings be cancelled?
Yes. All previously planned public meetings are cancelled effective March 17 and up until and including May 4.

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Public health information:

I’m an event organizer looking for advice, who do I contact?

Event organizers are encouraged to contact the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services at publichealth@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-575-4400 to learn more about how to prevent and reduce the risk and spread of germs. 

Where can I find general, reliable government information about Coronavirus as it relates to this area?

The Region of Waterloo Public Health website is providing regular updates on the situation. Residents are encouraged to connect with them directly at publichealth@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-575-4400 if they have questions or would like more information.

What are recommendations for how to prevent the spread of the virus?

Residents are encouraged to follow precautions outlined by the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services to reduce the risk and prevent the spread of germs.

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