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The Ontario government declared a provincial state of emergency on March 17 to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the provincial level.  I would like to ask every citizen of Hawkesbury to remain calm, but vigilant about their choices to get out of their homes.

The guidelines issued by Ontario's public health authorities are very clear and specific.  Social distancing is crucial to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  If you need to go out, wash your hands before you leave and as soon as you get home.

Deadlines for municipal tax payments, water bills, sewerage taxes and other user fees, business licenses and dog licenses are maintained.  However, no interest or penalty will be incurred until May 31, 2020.

We want to reassure people that the drinking water distribution system is safe.

A screening centre will open at 750 Laurier Street in Hawkesbury.  Further details will be posted on the City of Hawkesbury's website in the very near future.

Should you be overwhelmed by the current situation and suffer from anxiety and distress, you may call 211, Canada's leading source of information on government and community health and social services, who will direct you to the support service needed.  For specific needs requiring the police’s prompt intervention, please call (613) 632-2729.  Although the door to the public entrance of the police station is locked, OPP facilities remain open during regular operating hours.  Instructions are posted on the door on how to contact someone inside the Detachment.

Excessive shopping in stores is not recommended.  Remember that the state of emergency is experienced by all and the current needs are the same for all.

I want to thank many of you who are doing what they can to help seniors and anyone else in our community.  I encourage returning travellers and citizens to support our local businesses where possible and to use their online or telephone delivery and ordering services.

Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated during this undeniably difficult time that we are currently experiencing.

Paula J. Assaly

Mayor of the Town of Hawkesbury