The City of St. Catharines has opted to extend the closure of its facilities indefinitely as case numbers rise across the region and Ontario at large.
The new measure extends facility closures beyond the original date of April 5. It is hoped that this extension will not only limit the spread of COVID-19 in the City but will also ensure staff can continue to safely deliver essential services to residents.
“This is a necessary step as we continue to make every effort to ensure essential City services residents rely on are available,” said Shelley Chemnitz, chief administrative officer for the City of St. Catharines. “We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust our operations as required to protect the health and safety of our employees, residents and greater community.”
Despite the closures, the City of St. Catharines recently launched PickUpSTC, a website aimed at providing residents with links to local businesses that remain open during the pandemic. Those who visit the PickUpSTC site can browse through the list of businesses, or search for a particular business based on the service it offers.
“Life has changed so quickly over the past couple of weeks. The way we spend time with family and friends has changed. The way we spend our evenings and weekends has changed, but one thing that can stay the same is enjoying a meal from one of your favorite restaurants or wine from one of our world-class wineries,” said Karen Doyle, tourism marketing officer for the City. “St. Catharines is still open for business and PickUpSTC can connect consumers to their favorite [foods]. They’ll be able to find not only comfort in food, but comfort knowing [they] can [shop locally}.”
PickUpSTC is one of the City’s initiatives designed to help support the local economy as businesses deal with or prepare to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City has taken a lead in the Niagara Economic Rapid Response Team, working with teams across the region to compile data on the impact on local business and sharing information with other levels of government to ensure there is support from all levels.
Economic development staff and the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre have also been hosting webinars aimed specifically at supporting local business through the pandemic. Staff have also been actively promoting a shop local initiative to place a spotlight on local businesses and to share updates and tips with the community.
“We know this is a challenging time for local businesses that are affected by closures and people staying at home. We need to come together to find ways to support our city’s small businesses, restaurants, tourism operators and others,” said St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik. “We’re committed to working with all of our economic development partners to help business owners get through this pandemic and encourage the community to support local businesses when they can.”
The City continues to list facility closure, service disruptions and cancellations among other important updates on its website at www.stcatharines.ca/COVID19. Residents who desire more information can visit the page for updates and can engage with the City’s social media channels. Those who desire to make use of the PickUpSTC service are encouraged to visit www.pickupstc.ca.