‘Stay home, and stay away,’ says mayor while declaring state of emergency

‘Stay home, and stay away,’ says mayor while declaring state of emergency

Mayor Jeff Lehman. Photo provided

The news can change fast in the City of Barrie.

At 3 p.m., Monday, BarrieToday interviewed Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman about what steps the city had taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, why the city had not yet declared a state of emergency, and what advice residents should heed.

By 4:45 p.m., Lehman had declared a state of emergency in the city.

“What we would be looking at is, is it a tool we can use to really amplify that message that people really take this seriously?” Lehman said during the earlier interview.

Lehman said the city currently has an Emergency Control Group, which is guiding decision making at the municipal level. In the group are Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood, Fire Chief Cory Mainprize, chief administrative officer Michael Prowse, some city staffers and regular advice from Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

“If they recommend to me we should declare a state of emergency, I would do that immediately,” the mayor said. “They have not recommended that at this point because the Ontario state of emergency already gives us tools to deal with this.

“It’s something we’re looking at day-by-day,” he added. “Things are changing as we speak.”

Two hours later, the state of emergency was in effect.

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