DAN CEARNS Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
SCUGOG/KAWARTHA: Municipal Canada Day festivities are the latest to be affected by COVID-19. On Wednesday, April 15th, the Township of Scugog announced they are extending their COVID-19 related closures, including parks, playgrounds and municipal facilities, and cancelling “large events” until July 3rd. The cancellations include Canada Day events usually held in Palmer Park in Port Perry. “The July 3 extension of closures and cancellations of programs and events applies to both town led events and third-party event permits. Bookings for all Township facilities and sports field permits are also suspended, up until and including, July 3, 2020,” read a press release from the Township of Scugog. “The Township will be contacting all event organizers, to advise them of the cancellations, and will work with them to determine a potential future date, where possible, or issue a full refund for permit fees and security deposits.” Despite a recent decision by Ontario’s provincial government to extend their state of emergency to May 12th, Scugog wanted to take it a step further in order to protect residents, by pushing their closures and cancellations to July 3rd. “These decisions are not made lightly. We reviewed the information coming from the health officials and we evaluated the work of the Township at this time. We decided that we will not be working on events that would see us bringing large groups of people together,” Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew said, in a press release. “Not only are we acting in an abundance of caution, but, we also recognize that as time marches on, we will be unable to initiate the extensive planning that is required to execute events like Canada Day. This is disappointing for many, but cancelling is the right thing to do.” Scugog CAO Paul Allore explained these decisions were made based on advice from local health officials. “We continue to listen to the health officials and decided to extend our closures in our ongoing effort to protect the health of our residents,” he said, in a press release. Meanwhile, the possibility of holding Canada Day events appears to be in doubt at the City of Kawartha Lakes. “As of today, we have suspended and are discouraging any privately run or organized events, up until July 1st,” Kawartha Lakes CAO Ron Taylor said, in a telephone press conference, on Thursday, April 16th. “I certainly appreciate that now is the time to start looking at July and August in particular, so we are looking at what is planned over the summer months, including Canada Day events. The city does support some of those, but they’re predominately privately or locally run. It’s very likely, in the direction that we are heading, that we won’t be encouraging Canada Day events like we’ve seen in the past. There may be some unique ways of doing things, but in terms of any social gatherings or events related to that, I’m pretty confident that we won’t be doing that, at least effective July 1st.” With the current situation the municipality and province are currently in, Mayor Andy Letham told The Standard he doesn’t think “anybody should be planning any events this summer that involve large crowds.” “If something can be planned or done differently with spacing, then I think they should certainly look at that, but I would struggle with anybody planning an event this summer that involves a large gathering or large crowd,” he said.