Mayor Burton repeals Oakville’s physical distancing by-law

Thu, 11 Jun 2020

Residents congratulated for success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Oakville

On June 11, 2020, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton announced the repeal of the town’s Physical Distancing By-law 2020-055 to recognize how far the community has come in moving towards a “new normal”, and to support efforts to move forward with recovery.

Mayor Burton stressed that while the by-law is being repealed, residents still need to follow public health guidelines to stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands frequently, continue to practice two-metre physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is not possible, and to follow all provincial emergency orders such as limiting gathering to less than 10 people.

“Oakville residents have done an exceptional job in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Mayor Burton said. “We adopted this by-law at the height of the pandemic and it did its job. We all know now how important physical distancing is to keep ourselves and our families safe, and that is a far better incentive to practice physical distancing than a ticket.”

The repeal of the by-law will also eliminate confusion on whether the by-law would impact efforts to support local economic recovery by allowing more outdoor dining patios and display areas in commercial districts.

On May 25, 2020 Council approved a Commercial Recovery Initiative for Oakville that included:

  • Making town lands in and adjacent to commercial areas available at nominal cost to enable the provision of temporary commercial services outdoors, including patios or pop-up facilities associated with existing restaurants and retail businesses;
  • Waiving application fees in 2020 for approvals associated with the Commercial Recovery Initiative;
  • Temporary exemptions from providing required parking under section 40 of the Planning Act; and,
  • Incorporating physical distancing measures in commercial areas to address safety such as dedicated queueing or pedestrian areas.

“While Halton Region and Oakville have not yet been approved to move into Phase 2 of recovery which would allow for outside dining, we want to be ready and provide clarity to businesses on the rules that will be in place when this does happen,” Mayor Burton said.

Mayor Burton, Regional Chair Gary Carr and mayors of Burlington, Halton Hills and Milton have written to Premier Ford asking him to reconsider his decision to not allow Halton to move forward with Stage 2 reopening.

The letter noted that “Halton, and Oakville, have a strong adherence to physical distancing and public health measures and we have been able to maintain low case numbers with no known institutional outbreaks. Our case numbers make up a small fraction of the total provincial cases and our hospitals are sustaining adequate capacity and at least 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by Halton public health officials within one day.”

The town’s by-law enforcement officers will still be responding to complaints about violations of the provincial emergency orders on social gatherings. As a reminder, as of Friday morning, groups of up to 10 people may gather in public spaces but physical distancing must still be maintained. To report a violation, please call ServiceOakville at 905-845-6601 and a by-law enforcement officer will be dispatched to follow up.

For more information on the actions the Town of Oakville is taking to address COVID-19 and the town’s efforts to move the community towards recovery, please visit the COVID-19 Information page.