Grey County hosts special online council meeting

Paul McQueen, Grey Highlands Mayor. (photo by Kirk Scott)

Grey County will hold a special meeting of county council on Tuesday, March 31 at 9:30 a.m.

It will be the first-ever electronic meeting of Grey County Council with Councillors participating from their homes. Recently, the province passed new legislation allowing municipalities to hold digital meetings during the Provincially declared COVID-19 emergency.

Moving to online meetings follows Public Health recommendations to avoid large gatherings and maintain social distancing to help prevent community transmissions of the COVID-19 virus. All council meetings will use this format for the duration of the public health emergency.

Warden Paul McQueen said it is more important to stay connected during a crisis.

The Grey County Administration Building and council chambers are closed to the public at this time. County meetings can be viewed online as they happen at www.Grey.ca/Council/live-stream. Past meetings can be viewed on the Grey County YouTube Channel.

“During a crisis, it is more important than ever for Council’s to stay connected and move forward important business that affects residents and businesses,” said Grey County Warden Paul McQueen. “We’re fortunate to have the technology we need to meet remotely without putting the health and wellbeing of the public, staff, and councillors at risk.”

Grey County encourages all residents and businesses to closely monitor and follow the recommendations of public health officials.

“We’re all in this together and it’s important that we respect the guidance of our healthcare professionals and follow their advice. If you feel unwell, stay home. Avoid all non-essential gatherings of any size. Wash hands your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. If you are returning from travel outside of the country, self-isolate at home,” said Warden McQueen.

Best practices, resources and current information can be found online at www.Ontario.ca/Coronavirus(link is external) and by following the Grey Bruce Health Unit on Facebook and Twitter.

Grey County continues to provide essential services to the people who need them. All public buildings and offices are now closed, but support is still available digitally and over the phone. Residents in need of services are encouraged to visit www.Grey.ca. For housing assistance over the phone call 519-376-5744. For Ontario Works social assistance call 519-376-7112. For all administrative matters, please email clerks@grey.ca(link sends e-mail). For other social needs, residents are asked to call 2-1-1 for support connecting with services.

“Grey County essential services continue to operate. Our hardworking staff are working diligently at home and on the frontline, caring for our community’s most vulnerable. County council is incredibly grateful for their ongoing commitment.”

Grey County has implemented its pandemic plan to ensure services continue. Staff in roles considered non-essential during this crisis are preparing to be redeployed to support essential services such as long-term care.

The Grey County community is rising to the challenges COVID-19 is creating. Dozens of businesses have emailed PPEsupplies@grey.ca(link sends e-mail) to offer personal protective equipment supplies to frontline responders and healthcare workers. The United Way Bruce Grey has launched the website TheDo.ca(link is external) as a place for the community to get involved and donate to the crisis, and for people in need to access support. Bruce Power showed tremendous community support by hosting a virtual town hall for both residents of Grey and Bruce counties to learn about the pandemic directly from public health and healthcare experts.

“The community support throughout this pandemic has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Warden McQueen. “We know we can rely on our community to rally around a crisis, but it never ceases to amaze me how far our people will go. To everyone who is volunteering, donating, or simply just checking in on at-risk neighbours, thank you.”