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  #181  
Old Posted May 17, 2020, 2:28 PM
DEWLine DEWLine is offline
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Don't bother feeding the trolls. This situation has brought loud jeers from all the most ignorant people on Earth.
It certainly has. Would-be fascists of an "accelerationist" mindset are flushing themselves out of hiding in hopes of taking advantage of the ongoing crisis.
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  #182  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 7:46 PM
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Map showing rates of infection by Ward. I'd say there does not seem to be any correlation between infections and Ward densities, for anyone using Covid-19 as reasoning against intensification.


https://twitter.com/KatePorterCBC/st...203393/photo/1
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  #183  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
Map showing rates of infection by Ward. I'd say there does not seem to be any correlation between infections and Ward densities, for anyone using Covid-19 as reasoning against intensification.


https://twitter.com/KatePorterCBC/st...203393/photo/1
Funny, it’s not easy to pick out patterns there. The denser urban wards aren’t hit worse than some of the rural wards, and there’s no clear link to income (at least on a superficial level). Maybe the location of care homes is the key variable.
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  #184  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 11:33 AM
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City considering more street patios when restaurants reopen to dine-in customers

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
Publishing date: 27 minutes ago • 3 minute read


A local economic recovery plan is scheduled to be released next week as the city considers using roadways for restaurant patios.

City council recently made it more difficult for commercial main streets to be restricted to cars for the purpose of walking or cycling, but Mayor Jim Watson said Wednesday that he would be in favour of using more street space for patios as businesses try to crawl out of an economic slump.

Watson said he asked staff to produce a report within a week to see if the city can replicate past projects which used street space in front of restaurants for patios.

“One of the reasons why I’m enthusiastic about this idea is because we suspect when restaurants are given the green light to open they’ll have to practise social distancing, which means they’ll have fewer places for customers to sit and eat and have a meal,” Watson said during a press conference.

“If we can help them, logistically if it works, to increase their seating capacity by allowing them to have a patio which in the past they haven’t because they haven’t had the land, then I would be in support of that.”

Watson said the city will release its draft economic recovery plan on May 29 before sending the plan to council for approval. For now, the city has released tips for businesses to keep staff and the public safe.

Mark Kaluski, the chair of the Ottawa Coalition of BIA, credited city hall with doing its best to lay the groundwork to boost the local economy when the province relaxes more restrictions.

“The one thing we’re asking for is a lot of flexibility for patios and for restaurants when they’re able to reopen,” Kaluski said.

Those ideas include cancelling patio encroachment fees, setting up weather protection and using propane heaters to extend the patio season.

Kaluski, who sits on the mayor’s task force for economic recovery, said the city has been consulting with the BIAs on ideas to make sure the municipal government doesn’t stand in the way of businesses.

“To be quite honest with you, they’re quite supportive. They’re really looking to help us out,” Kaluski said.

Kaluski said BIAs are asking city hall for help to acquire personal protective equipment for staff, especially since small businesses that have already opened, like some ground-floor retailers, and those that will eventually open, like restaurants, are competing with large companies to get the safety gear.

While the city has extra powers under the current state of emergency, Anthony Di Monte, the city’s general manager of emergency and protective services, said he’s not interested in considering any local laws that would punish people for not wearing masks in businesses.

“It’s up to each of us to be responsible and follow the recommendations of the public health team (which) said we should be wearing masks,” Di Monte said.

Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, said if people can’t keep two metres apart from others, they should be wearing masks.

Coun. Keith Egli, the chair of the health board, said, “we want to get buy-in from the public” on the use of masks to reduce the risk of transmission.

There’s another blow to anyone hoping for big outdoor events this summer; the city has extended the prohibition for special events requiring city permits to Aug. 31. Municipal permits are required for events with 500 people or more.

jwilling@postmedia.com
twitter.com/JonathanWilling

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...-72a89b4a13be/
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  #185  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 12:29 PM
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Many businesses have been decimated. We need to enact whatever policies we can to help them capitalize on (hopefully) a summer lull wrt COVID, while still respecting and enforcing distancing rules. When fall/winter arrives, if no credible treatment or vaccine is available by then, they're in for more pain. A decent summer could be the difference between bridging them over or permanent closure.
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  #186  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by phil235 View Post
Funny, it’s not easy to pick out patterns there. The denser urban wards aren’t hit worse than some of the rural wards, and there’s no clear link to income (at least on a superficial level). Maybe the location of care homes is the key variable.
Its actually a 2-factor mix:

1. Income.
2. Density of Costco/Walmarts
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  #187  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 3:21 PM
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@tobi
https://twitter.com/tobi/status/1263483496087064579
As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is ove
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  #188  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 3:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ac888yow View Post
Many businesses have been decimated. We need to enact whatever policies we can to help them capitalize on (hopefully) a summer lull wrt COVID, while still respecting and enforcing distancing rules. When fall/winter arrives, if no credible treatment or vaccine is available by then, they're in for more pain. A decent summer could be the difference between bridging them over or permanent closure.
With Ontario's numbers rising again in recent days, that might be optimistic.
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  #189  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 3:52 PM
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It's exactly why I wrote "hopefully". I'm not liking these latest signs but I'm also not drawing any conclusion just yet.
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  #190  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 3:59 PM
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Originally Posted by waterloowarrior View Post
@tobi
https://twitter.com/tobi/status/1263483496087064579
As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is ove
Not surprised, but that will have a huge impact on downtown office space and the vitality of the core. Klipfolio is another that decided weeks ago that they will permanently close half of their office space. Many other tech companies will as well. On top of that, the new reality makes it possible for tech companies to hire new employees from virtually anywhere in the world. Companies no longer have to look in Ottawa for talent and new employees from elsewhere no longer have to relocate.
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  #191  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 4:47 PM
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Shopify to keep offices closed until 2021, employees to work from home permanently

OTTAWA | The Canadian Press
Published May 21, 2020 | Updated 18 minutes ago


Shopify Inc.’s chief executive says the company’s offices will remain closed until 2021, and that most employees will permanently work remotely.

Tobi Lutke made the announcement about the Ottawa-based e-commerce giant on Twitter, where he said Shopify is a digital company by default and office centricity is over.

Lutke allowed Shopify’s more than 5,000 employees to work from home months ago when COVID-19 started sweeping Canada.

His decision to have employees permanently work remotely comes after Shopify started beefing up its real estate with a new office in Toronto at the King and Portland Centre, steps away from the company’s first office in Canada’s largest city.

It also announced that it would lease about 23,597 square metres (253,995 square feet) of space at The Well complex in Toronto to be built at Front St. West and Spadina Ave.

In January, the company said it would open its first permanent office in downtown Vancouver at the Four Bentall Centre by late 2020.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busi...ork-from-home/
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  #192  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
Not surprised, but that will have a huge impact on downtown office space and the vitality of the core. Klipfolio is another that decided weeks ago that they will permanently close half of their office space. Many other tech companies will as well. On top of that, the new reality makes it possible for tech companies to hire new employees from virtually anywhere in the world. Companies no longer have to look in Ottawa for talent and new employees from elsewhere no longer have to relocate.
There will definitely be an impact on office space demand, but this might be a positive for Ottawa. As desirable as Ottawa is to some demographics, employers have a real challenge convincing young talent to relocate from bigger markets. This will allow companies based in Ottawa to recruit talent from elsewhere without building offices in other places, keeping headquarters functions here.

Personally I'm a bit of a skeptic on the full move to work from home. I think there are lots of drawbacks that will be tough to overcome even with better technology, and most people do prefer to have personal interaction with colleagues. Even in the tech field, I expect that the start-up dynamic will still largely prefer a physical office where people can get together. Work from home is better suited to established companies, as a complement to the office culture.
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  #193  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 7:30 PM
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There will definitely be an impact on office space demand, but this might be a positive for Ottawa. As desirable as Ottawa is to some demographics, employers have a real challenge convincing young talent to relocate from bigger markets. This will allow companies based in Ottawa to recruit talent from elsewhere without building offices in other places, keeping headquarters functions here.

Personally I'm a bit of a skeptic on the full move to work from home. I think there are lots of drawbacks that will be tough to overcome even with better technology, and most people do prefer to have personal interaction with colleagues. Even in the tech field, I expect that the start-up dynamic will still largely prefer a physical office where people can get together. Work from home is better suited to established companies, as a complement to the office culture.
It seems this was changing prior to the COVID mess:

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-the...tudy-1.4820839

But nonetheless I share the skepticism. I can't think of anything worse for a young professional or new hire than sitting at home, trying to assimilate and produce successfully by virtual means. I think this is more appropriate for highly specialized or niche roles, or for mature organizations and staff.
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  #194  
Old Posted May 21, 2020, 8:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ac888yow View Post
It seems this was changing prior to the COVID mess:

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-the...tudy-1.4820839

But nonetheless I share the skepticism. I can't think of anything worse for a young professional or new hire than sitting at home, trying to assimilate and produce successfully by virtual means. I think this is more appropriate for highly specialized or niche roles, or for mature organizations and staff.
Interesting stats, thanks. I have a bit of insight into recruiting a few niche skillsets, but it's good to see that things are changing in the broader market. Ottawa does tend to have a bit of an inferiority complex, which may skew peoples' perceptions.
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  #195  
Old Posted May 22, 2020, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ac888yow View Post
It seems this was changing prior to the COVID mess:

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-the...tudy-1.4820839

But nonetheless I share the skepticism. I can't think of anything worse for a young professional or new hire than sitting at home, trying to assimilate and produce successfully by virtual means. I think this is more appropriate for highly specialized or niche roles, or for mature organizations and staff.
Yeah it’s ironic these companies have open concept offices to facilitate collaboration. I see a kind of 20-80 rule in people who report to me. 20% are producing more than before. The remaining 80% not so much. All the studies on working from home were people doing it voluntarily and mostly as a priveledge.

Over time Shopify won’t be much of an Ottawa company of working from home they seems like it will migrate elsewhere.
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  #196  
Old Posted May 22, 2020, 4:17 PM
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With Ontario's numbers rising again in recent days, that might be optimistic.
They're only rising in the GTA. Outside of the GTA, including in Ottawa, they continue to fall. In fact, community transmission in Ottawa is now nearly zero. Institutional outbreaks account for almost all local cases now.

Ford's insistence on having the entire province follow the same re-opening schedules isn't going to work much longer. I for one am going to be very angry if our local economy loses out on the entire summer because of Toronto's rising case numbers rather than our own situation. Unfortunately, we have basically no strong voices in the provincial cabinet, so nobody is going to bring it up. I feel especially bad for Kingston, a city where the virus is basically eradicated, yet still shut down under province-wide rules.

Right now, Ontario should aim to have the GTA follow a different re-opening schedule from the rest of the province. To prevent Torontonians from flooding the smaller cities, restrict internal travel with roving checkpoints and such like what Quebec did.
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  #197  
Old Posted May 23, 2020, 1:03 PM
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How COVID-19 could reshape Canada's federal public service

Kathryn May
Publishing date: 32 minutes ago • 8 minute read


Once the novel coronavirus has been tamed or eradicated and the world returns to ‘normal,’ what will that look like? Will COVID-19 fundamentally and permanently alter our lives? In an occasional series, this newspaper examines the potential lasting effects of the pandemic on how we live, work and play. Today: Government workers in the capital and beyond.


The COVID-19 pandemic has handed the public service a grand-scale opportunity to experiment with new ways of operating, including rethinking the need for massive office buildings in Ottawa-Gatineau and embracing digital government more fully. What public servants learn in the next few months by working remotely and in crisis could jolt the bureaucracy into a re-ordering of practices and culture that reformers haven’t been able to do in 25 years.

Public servants rapidly mobilized over the past two months to implement a massive financial aid package, abandoning play-it-safe and rules-bound processes to put the needs of Canadians first as they doled out billions in emergency funding.

“It’s not that the crisis is forcing us to reshape the public service, but the post-pandemic world could be the window of opportunity, or necessity, to accelerate the renewal and reforms in institutions,” former privy council clerk Michael Wernick said in an interview.

Alex Benay, the former chief information officer who led the government’s digital agenda until he left for the private sector, wrote the crisis unleashed a “new norm,” the “digital first” government he’s long pressed for.

“Sadly, it took COVID-19 for people to realize that the real problem was not technology, not necessarily the culture … The real ‘enemy,’ so to speak, has been the operating model of government has yet to change to adjust to the new digital realities,” Benay wrote in a recent LinkedIn post.

It’s not the first time the public service has roared into action to combat a crisis. Its rapid response was reminiscent of the moves it made during the “program review” budgetary cuts of the 1990s, after the 9/11 attacks, and during the 2008-09 financial crisis, which had lasting impacts on government.

These events didn’t, however, fundamentally change the culture of the public service and many argue it went back to its old risk-averse and hierarchical ways as the crisis receded. That culture is hard-wired into public service, built on rules developed to keep governments accountable for the decisions they make with taxpayers’ money.

The public service has been slow to embrace technology that’s changing the private sector at breakneck speed. Bureaucrats have been pushed to innovate, to use digital tools to rethink how they work and deliver services, to take risks, and even to fail as they experiment with new ways of working.

Mel Cappe, who was Canada’s top bureaucrat in the aftermath of 9/11, said today’s public servants rightly opted to get emergency aid out to those who needed it over a “bullet-proof system” that ensured no mistakes at the front-end. The thinking was that errors could be fixed later.

It allowed the public service to take just two weeks to distribute employment insurance payments to 2.4 million applicants, the number it normally handles in a year. Money “going to people undeserving is an error I would rather have than depriving people of the money they need in crisis,” Cappe said in a podcast.

“Work will change and services will change. Why does a call centre have to have a building?” he said in an email. “Our expectations of the role of government have increased dramatically. New programs, new services, new bodies. But we have no idea what or how.”

Long before the pandemic struck, questions had been raised as to why nearly 42 per cent of federal workers are clustered in office towers in the National Capital Region. In the blink of an eye, thousands of bureaucrats are working from home. Many predict it won’t be long before politicians will be asking why these home offices are in the nation’s capital. Why can’t those jobs be across the country?

The public service’s headquarters is in Ottawa-Gatineau – where it occupies about 3.5 million square metres of office space – because that’s where Parliament, ministers and deputy ministers are. The pandemic shows cabinet, Parliament and MPs can meet virtually, so it’s “inevitable there will be a push to spread those jobs across the country,” said Wernick.

“I think that 10 years from now the public service will be much smaller, more distributed, less concentrated in Ottawa and flatter in hierarchy. It’s been moving in that direction and this will accelerate it,” he said.

Ryan Androsoff, who teaches digital leadership at the Institute on Governance and is a co-founder of the Canadian Digital Service, calls the crisis an “inflection point” for remote work. Forced to work at home, public servants know they can do it.

He argues agents who work at the government’s 221 call centres could work remotely, as could many policy analysts and other knowledge workers. It could lead to a major reduction in federal real estate holdings across the country.

There are bugs to iron out – more laptops and tablets are needed; employees need access to software for video conferencing, cloud and collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams; and above all, they need more bandwidth. Employees not working on the pandemic or other critical jobs have been directed to stay off the network during peak hours because of limited available bandwidth. Protocols would also need to be developed for accessing confidential documents remotely and the setting of productivity goals.

By headcount, the public service is larger in the regions, but there has long been a divide between headquarters and regions. Senior management is in Ottawa, where policy and decisions are made, leaving operations to the regions. Regional workers have often complained they feel out of the loop and like second-class employees.

Technology and distance working will eliminate that divide and allow the government to recruit a workforce that better represents the country to help resolve the regional alienation dividing the country. Androsoff warned, however, that divide could worsen if the region’s operational workers make the switch to remote working but Ottawa policy-makers go back to the office as normal.

“Moving to a remote and distributed workforce as the norm for everyone opens up all parts of the country to feel they are a part of the central government rather than isolated in regional outposts,” Androsoff said.

“I am a westerner, from Saskatchewan, and in Ottawa you tend to see far fewer people in policy-making or executive roles from the east and west partly because it requires a move to Ottawa.”

Office accommodation for 300,000 employees is one of the government’s biggest operating expenses. It may be cheaper to set up workers at home, but it will also require a new approach to management for some 15,000 supervisors and 7,000 executives.

“It’s never been a technology limitation. It’s the philosophy about managing the workforce that has to change,” said Michel Vermette, a former CEO of the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada.

“It means making people accountable for what they produce, and the public service has not done that very well. It has substituted office presence for production. Managers need to think differently; hold people accountable for what they do, not for showing up,” he said.

Vermette said the crisis is showing managers they can trust employees are actually working when not in the office because suddenly “they have no choice and people are demonstrating they can be productive at home.”

It could also help change the culture of endless meetings. Some hope the number of large in-person meetings could be curtailed and call for training on how to run them better. Meetings held online or by videoconferencing should treat everyone the same whether they are physically present at headquarters or calling in.

Under lockdown, people are living even more digitally and will emerge expecting better and speedier digital service — especially after they received almost immediate relief benefits in their bank accounts, said Androsoff. He expects demand for digital services will accelerate and the 32 per cent of Canadians who still visit federal offices will decline.

The Liberal government has put a lot of stock in modernizing digital services as a way to restore trust in government. The crisis, however, exposes the risks of aging technology that governments have been warned about for a decade. Systems are outdated; some more than 50 years old, costly to maintain and on the brink of failure.

That’s particularly the case at Employment and Social Development Canada, which, with the Canada Revenue Agency, jumped huge technological and approval process hurdles to deliver emergency funding.

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, argues a “silver lining” is the realization that technology is the backbone of government’s business, not just the back office.

“There will be a big push for improvement in technology because the government is way behind in investments in infrastructure and training,” said Daviau, whose union represents 17,000 federal information technology workers.

“But the downside is whenever there is an economic stimulus, they take it back from the public service, so I worry for the future. There will be a restraint budget. How will the public service be reshaped; what will be cut and what will government decide it can live without? This situation clearly highlights the importance of a public service that can act quickly.”

Government is already racing to figure out how to steer the country into a post-pandemic recovery, which will remain uncertain until a vaccine is found. Many bureaucrats are braced for a cost-cutting budget, whether in 2022 or 2023. They say national and health security will be top spending priorities, and will nudge technology upgrades off the table.

“I share concerns that the inevitable fiscal retrenchment in the next couple of years will slam on the brakes,” said Wernick. “We could lose the best parts of the innovation of the public service that has already happened and the appetite for continuing to invest in back office, IT and service improvement.”


Kathryn May covered the federal public service as a parliamentary reporter for more than two decades. She has worked at various Canadian news media outlets, including the Ottawa Citizen and iPolitics. This article is reprinted from Policy Options, where it first appeared.

https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/co...-bb6ab17db54f/
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  #198  
Old Posted May 23, 2020, 8:00 PM
SidetrackedSue SidetrackedSue is offline
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Originally Posted by phil235 View Post
Funny, it’s not easy to pick out patterns there. The denser urban wards aren’t hit worse than some of the rural wards, and there’s no clear link to income (at least on a superficial level). Maybe the location of care homes is the key variable.
It says in the title of the graph Excluding LTC and RH.

Maybe education level?

I moved from Rideau Goulbourn to Kitchissippi, so obviously I was smart!
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  #199  
Old Posted May 27, 2020, 11:45 PM
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Council cancels patio fees to help restaurants recover this summer

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
Publishing date: 1 hour ago • 1 minute read


Mayor Jim Watson won council’s full support Wednesday to let restaurants establish patios on public spaces, rent free.

Usually restaurant owners would need to pay encroachment fees if they want patios on sidewalks or other public spaces, but the city is trying to reduce roadblocks to economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $62 permit application fee will still be required, however. Any applications for a patio within 90 metres of a residential property would also require a fee to make sure there’s proper public consultation.

The $282,000 in lost revenue is being covered by positions not filled in the planning, infrastructure and economic development department.

Watson, along with transportation chair Coun. Tim Tierney, has asked staff to table a report to the transportation committee on June 3 with options to expand patios on public and private properties to allow physical distancing.

The city is also waiving tourist kiosk fees and allow temporary access to public spaces for vending and retail.

Stephen Willis, the city’s general manager in charge of economic development, said the hardest hit sectors of the Ottawa economy are accommodations, entertainment and food services, and retail. The job declines in each of those two sectors are, respectively, 58 per cent and 42.1 per cent compared to February 2020.

The city awaits decisions from the province on loosening closure orders, including restrictions on park playgrounds, splash pads and wading pools.

On the summer camp front, the city continues to wait for direction from the province, but recreation general manager Dan Chenier said the city has identified 44 locations where it could run “very basic” camps focused on outdoor activity.

jwilling@postmedia.com
twitter.com/JonathanWilling

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...-b77744fd6dc6/
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  #200  
Old Posted May 28, 2020, 3:37 AM
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I'm starting to get annoyed with the "one size fits all" approach of the Provincial government. If the GTA can't control Covid-19, cities who are able to keep the virus at bay, like Ottawa and Kingston, should not be held back. Something as simple as opening patios would do wonders to morale and the bottom line of many businesses without augmenting risk significantly.

I'm glad the City will be waving some patio fees (I'd be curious to know the average costs saved per business), but the Mayor needs to stand-up to Ford on this.

Quebec and Alberta, though I think might have opened up a little too early, adopted regional plans. Ontario should do the same.
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