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UPDATE: March 18, 2020 City of Orillia continues to adapt response to COVID-19

Posted on Wednesday March 18, 2020

As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve and information changes rapidly, the City continues to adapt and proactively respond accordingly.

The City of Orillia is focused on the protection of its employees and prevention of potential spread of COVID-19 within its workforce and the community. We are implementing measures to scale back the number of people who have to work together at City facilities over the next two weeks (starting March 19) in an effort to practice social distancing and flatten the curve of COVID-19. Critical City services, such as water, wastewater, road maintenance, waste collection and fire service, will continue and we are providing services by phone, email, mail and online where possible. More information will be communicated on as the details are finalized. We encourage local businesses to look at their own operations to determine what measures they can put in place to implement social distancing and respond to COVID-19.

Effective March 19, 2020 the City is closing its Waste Diversion Site, 100 Kitchener St., to public access. Until further notice, the public will not be permitted to access the site for dropping off garbage, recycling and compostable materials, and household hazardous waste materials. The City’s curbside garbage, recycling and green bin collection programs will continue with no current restrictions (garbage tags are still required).  If you have any questions, please call the Waste Diversion Site at 705-325-3522.

The City of Orillia Chief Administrative Officer, Gayle Jackson, is now self-isolating in light of evolving information and due to the fact that she has a family member returning from the United Kingdom.

“Information and guidelines are changing rapidly; day-by-day, hour-by-hour. As a City and as individuals, we are all trying to navigate the information and do what is best for our families and our community,” said Jackson. “I made the decision to return to work based on the information available at the time and the fact that experts were consulted. Due to information changing by the hour and that I have a daughter returning from the UK, I am now self-isolating and still fully working remotely for the corporation and the people of Orillia.”

“The decision for Ms. Jackson to self-monitor and return to work was made based on the advice and information from our regional, provincial and federal medical officers of health. Having said this, had we had the information we have now the recommendation would have been for our CAO to work from home,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “As we have done from the onset of this unprecedented situation, we will continue to take whatever measure necessary and adapt our response accordingly to maximize the safety of our community.”

Three staff including the CAO who arrived over the weekend are also self isolating. As of March 16, any staff member returning from travel abroad is required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

 The City of Orillia has closed all City operated facilities for public access with the exception of City Centre in order to access the Service Canada. For a full list of facilities affected and how services are being provided, please visit

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) advises the risk presented by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Orillia area is still low; however, in an effort to encourage social distancing and limit public gatherings the City is implementing these measures.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this challenging time.

We encourage everyone to make sure they are actively following good hygienic practices common for any cold or flu bug season, such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Before and after preparing food
    • Before and after eating
    • After using the washroom
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a tissue then discard
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • AND stay home if you are sick

The SMDHU encourages social distancing of two meters and recommends cancellation of all non-essential travel.   

For more information please visit the SMDHU website at:

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at



Brent Thomas
Orillia Fire Chief


Mayor Steve Clarke


Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)