City of Ottawa shifts to COVID-19 pandemic recovery operations
OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s City Manager says Ottawa “can’t get caught not being prepared as the economy starts opening up” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ottawa, the city is shifting from a response posture to recovery operation on COVID-19.
“That is a significant shift for us,” Steve Kanellakos told Council Wednesday morning.
“The situation is evolving and were also evolving our emergency operations from a response posture to a recovery posture.”
Kanellakos says City Staff are working with Ottawa Public Health and the other levels of government to look ahead to the eventual easing of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Kanellakos says four new tasks teams are being set up that will focus on: People, Finance, Services and Economic Recovery.
“Residents are looking for city services to assist them to getting back to their everyday lives,” said Kanellakos.
“Right now, the definition of normal will change for a while.”
Here is a look at what the four new task teams will focus on:
People: Preserve, protect and optimize the deployment of city staff
Finance: Focus on the finances of the city. Staff estimate the city is losing $1 million a day in revenue during the pandemic.
Services: How to open city operations for the public in a safe measure following the pandemic.
Economic Recovery: To develop Ottawa’s economic relief and recovery strategy, ensure alignment with federal and provincial staging and continued engagement with collaboration with Ottawa Public Health
The City of Ottawa has also launched a Human Needs Task Force to look after the needs of Ottawa’s vulnerable population.
Opening City of Ottawa facilities
The City Manager says the city is already looking at how to reopen all city facilities, including the Client Service Centres.
Kanellakos told reporters the city is learning from grocery stores to make sure the public feels safe and to limit the spread of COVID-19..
“The tape on the floor keeping people separate, the plexiglas between cashiers and customers, people going around to make sure that people stay separate, the unidirectional movement through the stores. We’ve been talking about all those things for our facilities and services.”
Kanellakos adds the city is also looking to make sure inspectors are still working to support businesses in Ottawa.