At his weekly press scrum, Mayor Andy Letham said he is concerned by behaviours he has witnessed or heard about across Kawartha Lakes — behaviours that could force a harsher response from city enforcement agencies.
“Some people out there are behaving like the pandemic is over,” the mayor said, “and it is not.”
“This behaviour could set us back months.”
The mayor has heard anecdotal reports from businesses and restaurants about behaviours “that are irresponsible and not beneficial for anyone.”
“These people can go back to where they came from. We have lots of locals behaving responsibly. We are not going to pretend the pandemic is over,” the mayor shared.
Letham is going to meet again with the city’s emergency operations centre and said that the city was going to have “no patience with those who weren’t taking the pandemic seriously.”
When pushed by the assembled press for specific examples, the mayor talked about restaurants and small businesses “concerned about a lack of caring attitudes.”
These same businesses reported individuals not taking the pandemic seriously. The mayor said that businesses need to do the initial enforcement of social distancing and behaviour consistent with public health requirements and if need be, ask customers who are not following rules to leave.
“We are not looking to play hardball…but I was out in my boat last Sunday and I passed 20-25 people on a dock partying…this is irresponsible,” the mayor said.
The meeting shifted gears to discuss a slow and steady expansion of city services for the month of July, and CAO Ron Taylor immediately addressed the concerns expressed the day before at council about lackadaisical park and beach upkeep.
He promised a higher standard of service starting right away. He said the city will only open washrooms at the Woodville and Wilson Fields athletic complexes once the facilities are being better used, and that the city has elected not to hire 100 summer students at all this summer.
“Seventy five part-time staff are still laid off, and this number includes 25 school crossing guards and a number of fitness, aquatics and library staff,” Taylor added.
Coboconk business confirmed
It was also confirmed by Letham at council that the city had approved plans for a new restaurant/gas station at Highways 48 and 35 in Coboconk. The mayor could not identify what specific businesses are soon to begin building in the new development, but said they should know soon.
Letham was then asked about the city campaign to encourage residents to enjoy “staycations” and get out and enjoy their own communities.
“People have been out and about,” the mayor enthused. “The locks are open. There are more boats on the lakes.”
“We are encouraging responsible day visitors. No one I have heard of is venturing too far this summer. Why would people want to go anywhere else?”