Faced with what the World Health Organization is calling a pandemic, the City of Westmount has initiated a number of measures designed to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. I wish to brief you on the steps we have taken while encouraging each and every Westmounter to help us as we strive to stem the spread of the virus.
At the outset, I wish to stress that Westmount has an emergency plan which we are implementing in consultation with public health authorities and other experts. Social distancing – the limiting of the opportunities for personal interaction and contact – as well as basic hygiene measures, such as frequent hand washing, are our best means to slow the spread of the virus.
In order to avoid bringing people together, we have closed The Westmount Public Library, Victoria Hall and Westmount Recreation Centre and postponed or canceled all of our public meetings and events. In addition, all Westmount Sports & Recreation programmes and activities have been cancelled for the remainder of the winter 2020 session.
All other city services remain functional, including public security, snow clearing, garbage collection, recycling and compost pick up, although all municipal buildings are now closed to the public.
I should point out that our staff is being asked to stay home for 14 days if they have traveled outside Canada and/or if they are sick or have had contact with a person who is ill. More generally, Westmounters should be aware that the Government of Quebec would like anyone arriving back in Canada from March 12 onwards to self-isolate.
We encourage all of our vulnerable residents or residents 70 years of age and older to stay home. We also encourage friends and relatives to stay in touch with them by phone. Visitors are no longer permitted in hospitals, CHSLDs and seniors’ residences.
We are also concerned about the impact social distancing may have on the vulnerable among us such as seniors, the isolated and others with limited support networks. With this in mind, we encourage seniors to sign up for our longstanding Public Security service whereby an employee of the City will check in with you daily. If you know of a senior who would benefit from this service please ensure they are registered by calling 514-989-5222.
Council and I know that this is an incredibly stressful time for all of us. As a parent I am well aware in particular of the impact of school closings on many of us. Yet, it is our moral and civic duty to do our part and to adhere to the social distancing guidelines that the public health authorities have outlined. It is incumbent on all of us to do whatever is necessary to ensure we lessen the spread of this virus.
We will do our best to keep you up to date on developments and urge you to consult santemontreal.ca/coronavirus on a regular basis for the most up to date and accurate information or to call 1 877 644-4545 if you are concerned about COVID-19. In the interim, thank you for your support and understanding. Please take care of yourself and others.
Mayor Christina M. Smith and Council