Council approved plans today for responding to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, including additional measures to ensure safety compliance and a series of recommended criteria for determining when program and service delivery may be scaled back. A guiding principle of the City’s pandemic response has been to deliver as many programs and services as possible and in a safe manner so that community wellbeing, mental health and physical fitness can be supported in a variety of ways. Staff will continue to deliver a variety of programs and services in a safe manner to support Kitchener residents in a variety of ways.

Five criteria will be used by the City to determine if and when City and Neighbourhood Association-run programs or services need to be modified or scaled back. They include:

  • significant increases in COVID-19 infection rates or outbreaks (e.g. significant school outbreaks may impact youth programming);
  • increased community spread of COVID-19 with no ability to trace transmission back to origin;
  • lack of enrollment or participation in programs or services;
  • increased staff absenteeism; and
  • Public Health/Provincial recommendations.

To maintain continuity of operations into the second wave, the City of Kitchener, in partnership with other local municipalities, has developed a list of prioritized critical services. The City has also developed enhanced safety measures for community centres and recreational facilities to ensure ongoing safety compliance. Staff will document compliance of safety protocols daily.

To further support the Kitchener community throughout the colder months, the City has assembled two action teams to develop strategies to encourage community spirit and connectedness among residents and enhance mental health and well-being among staff.

The City’s critical services have been aligned to the objectives set out for the City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which also align to emergency response objectives to ensure the most important services can be maintained should shortages to staffing or other resources occur.