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Sault Ste. Marie's mayor pleads: Let's not be like Toronto!

On Saturday, Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods park was swarmed by so-called 'covidiots'
Resplendent in the latest COVID-19 coiffure, Mayor Christian Provenzano zoombombs Monday's City Council teleconference

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano is pleading with Saultites to avoid behaviour like that exhibited this past Saturday by so-called 'covidiots' at Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park.

"We don't want to see in Sault Ste. Marie what we saw in Toronto over the weekend," the mayor said at the beginning of Monday's City Council meeting.

Although Provenzano didn't mention the words 'Trinity Bellwoods,' he was clearly referencing the popular Toronto park where thousands of people gathered on Saturday, ignoring social-distancing rules as warm weather returned.

"As everybody's aware, the province has relaxed some restrictions," the Sault's mayor said.

"There are more people moving out and about the community. I think that's a positive thing. People need to feel that they have a bit more liberty and they can do some more things. I think it's positive for our economy that we start to do some more."

"I think it is more critical than ever that we recognize we need to follow Algoma Public Health's advice. Although people can be out and about and engage in some shopping activities and some recreational activities, we should learn how to live in a bit of a 'new normal.' It's important that we recognize how important physical distancing is," the mayor said.

"As we are in the community and as we are crossing paths with other people, we need to be mindful of our distance between those people."

"The current advice from Algoma Public Health is when you're in a situation where you can't physically distance, you should wear a non-surgical mask. Otherwise you should be physically distant, and it's critical that we all wash our hands."

"Washing your hands when you leave your house or when you return to your house is very important," Provenzano said.

In other City Council news:

  • some councillors expressed relief when Shelley Schell, city treasurer and chief financial officer, announced that the estimated operating fiscal impact of COVID-19 on local municipal finances has already reached about $1 million. They said they expected the pandemic's effect might have been worse than that
  • councillors were briefed on proposed changes to the accident-prone intersection at Andrew Street and Albert Street West. Among other alterations, city staff agreed Monday to a suggestion from Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker to install a flashing red light on a stop sign there