60 Pleasant Street, Bridgewater, NS, B4V 3X9
Tel: 902-543-4651 Fax: 902-543-6876
Emergency After Hours Tel: 902-543-5142

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On this page, you'll find the collection of public messages issued generally daily by Mayor David Mitchell via his @mayordavidmitchell Facebook page during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent messages from the mayor are posted at the top of the page.

>>>>>
April 5, 2020

I want to wish our Christian community well this Palm Sunday and also thank the many churches and community groups that are working every day to make sure people have food, supplies and other essentials. I also want to thank all those who have messaged me asking what they can do to help. Volunteers have always been a source of pride in Nova Scotia, it’s kind of our thing and that tradition has only ramped up during this pandemic. April is the month we hold our annual volunteer recognition ceremony and while we won’t be doing that this April, please know we love and appreciate all that you do for our community!

Before the updates I just want to also thank everyone who messages or comments with questions. That so many are asking means that so many want to make sure they are doing the right thing. That’s good thing and I want to encourage you to just ask when you are in doubt. Before you do however, I would like to ask that you either look at the link post pinned to the top of my Facebook Page or perhaps look at a few of the past posts to see if the answer to your question is there. I’ve received many hundreds of questions and I am responding to each one but many times a day I am asked questions that have been answered (many times before). In answering those, it is taking me longer to respond to people who have immediate needs. I’ll be revamping that pinned post soon to better highlight the frequently asked questions and hopefully make it even easier for everyone.


Updates


Federal

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit opens tomorrow. Please remember that applications are being processed based on birth month of the applicant:

Born in Jan – Mar: April 6
Born in Apr – Jun: April 7
Born in Jul – Sep: April 8
Born in Oct – Dec: April 9

  • Health Canada is building an inventory of “specialized volunteers”. Please sign up at Canada.ca/coronavirus if you think you are able to help.
  • Full time jobs are now available to all Armed Forces reservists


Provincial

  • 26 new cases of COVID-19 (262 total cases), with 6 in hospital and 52 now recovered
  • Community spread is confirmed and more options for testing in communities is being rolled out
  • Temporary assessment centres will be set up in communities (that don’t already have one) and are determined to have increased activity of COVID
  • NOTE: These centres are NOT for walk-ins. Use online assessment tool as always
  • Public Health as been able to mobilize quickly to address cases in communities but Dr. Strang was clear today that “testing is only half the battle. Remember to limit yourself to groups of five or less and ONLY if absolutely necessary. Essential shopping only - plan ahead (ie: don’t get just a few items) and reduce your trips out as much as possible.”
  • Today Dr. Strang asked that we not use online sites like Kijiji or Buy and Sell sites because you don’t know who has touched that item and again, if it’s not needed, get it when this is over.
  • Dr. Strang also advised that if you don’t need to drive (for no reason) please don’t. We do understand that sometimes you just need to get out but if you avoid it, please do.
  • Try to avoid going to the cottage. The fewer people on the roads the better.
  • Dr. Strang: “If 80% of the people stick to the public health measures, we will see an impact and a decrease of the transmission of the disease. More than 80% and you get better and strong effects BUT all it takes is a slip down to 70% of the people adhering to the public heath directives and you have NO effect of the public health measures.” (Don’t assume everyone else is doing their part so you don’t have to. Don’t be the person who undoes everyone else’s hard work!)
  • Premier: We’re all in this together and we’re only getting out of this together.
  • Premier: “I’m surprised at the number of tickets that law enforcement had to issue to those still reckless enough not to listen and if they won’t do their part, we’ll have law enforcement do it for them.”
  • Premier: Provincial programs should begin to appear online this week.
  • Premier: Next weekend is a long weekend and it is critical that people still follow the public health order and stay home. It is NOT a time to continue the traditional in-person family gathering. (Reminder: a family gathering with people outside your household would be illegal.)
  • #StayTheBlazesHome


Local

  • I appreciate your questions and need to have the correct, updated information. I will be revamping the links post pinned to the top of my Facebook Page to better list the updated rules. I am getting dozens of the same question that has been answered many times repeated every day and so I would kindly ask that before you ask me, if you could look at either the links or some of my recent posts to see if the answer is there. I am replying to every question I get (and there have been hundreds and hundreds), but in answering that same ones multiple times, it is taking me longer to get to those with immediate needs.
  • Remember that CKBW and Country 100.7 are playing the National Anthem at 7pm every night and I’m hoping right after that people will go out and make some noise for 30 seconds to show our front-line fighters that we are thinking of them!
  • CLARIFICATION ON DRIVING RESTRICTIONS: Members of the same household OR people who work together can be in a car at the same time. For everyone else, the physical distancing directive applies, and you can’t adhere to it in a car. You will be stopped (and the fine is $1000 per person).


Recipe

Trina and I have been doing a weekly at-home date night for over 20 years now. On date night, our kids have their own (earlier) supper and we get the time to connect over a good meal, some terrific music and conversation that we may not have had much time for during the week . We are finding it more important now than ever to make date night a priority. I thought I’d share the recipe I used for our date night last night. It’s a keeper for sure!

https://www.allrecipes.com/…/greek-lemon-chicken-and-pota…/…


“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Let’s do more than just believe we can shorten the time COVID stays with us. Let’s do our part to ensure it’s gone as quickly as possible. We owe that to all those who have lost their jobs and those still working on the front lines of this.
We are stronger together!!

>>>>>
April 4, 2020

The sunshine today has been a welcome change after a few wet and windy days. I hope you are enjoying it safely.

Despite the sun however, there’s a little less light in Bridgewater as our community mourns the passing of longtime Bridgewater Fire Department member, Captain Todd Arenburg. He served local communities for 38 years starting with the Midville Fire Department. In 1992 he joined the Bridgewater Fire Department and was recently presented with the Municipal Long Service Award. We have lowered the flag at Town Hall in honour of Captain Arenburg and his exemplary service to our town. Our thoughts and prayers are with Anita and the entire Fire Department family at this time. May the sorrow you feel in your heart be lightened by the love that surrounds you.


Updates


Federal

  • $200 Million for homeless shelters and shelters for victims of domestic abuse
  • Millions of masks will arrive in Canada on charted flights


Provincial

  • 29 new cases in NS (now 236 total), most remaining travel related but there is now community spread
  • 50 people have recovered, and their cases are deemed resolved
  • 800 tests were completed Friday and there have been 8964 negative tests to date
  • #StayTheBlazesHome


Local

  • While we are asked to shop alone, please be mindful that some single parents of small children may not have a choice but to take their child with them and others are dealing with severe anxiety and do need someone to help them shop. This isn’t a “free pass” for the rest of us to suddenly shop with another person. I am asking that we be understanding of those who have no choice while those of us that do have a choice, must go into stores alone!
  • I am getting reports of kids out playing basketball in groups and while I was out for a walk today, saw cars loaded with people (all the same age which likely means they are not all from the same home). This is against the Health Protection Act (physical distancing) and I’ll remind you (again!) that it’s a $1000 fine per person! This is being enforced!
  • Parents, I know it is difficult to keep your kids home, but it is your responsibility to ensure they do. It is for their health and the health of our community. If you need help or resources with this, please either reach out to friends and family for ideas and tips, or check the links post pinned to the top of this page for groups that may be able to help. Maybe consider hosting a group video chat for your kids to hang out in a new way. You’ve got this!


Recipe

Dessert Time!! We have some fresh lemons waiting to be used so perhaps this will be an activity for me and my daughter over the weekend.

https://www.allrecipes.com/r…/232799/chef-johns-lemon-bars/…


In our walk today, Trina and I passed a few people and we were so pleased that everyone either moved to the side or crossed the street to ensure proper distancing. We can all enjoy the outdoors if we do our part and do it the right way.

Finally, I’m getting some great drawings from talented kids in our community so please, keep ‘em coming and Monday I’ll begin showing some of them to the community in my video message. Send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with ‘Art Contest’ in the subject line. Please include your child’s first name and age.

With 29 cases of COVID announced today, I thought this quote was fitting.

“A setback isn’t your enemy; it’s your teacher.” ~ Bob Goff

Let today’s number be our lesson for tomorrow.

>>>>>
April 3, 2020

Nothing like extreme wind and heavy rain to help keep people inside! I hope everyone fared well during the storm.

We’re almost through another week and that’s something I’m certainly thankful for. I know however, that the weekend brings little change for the many working on our front lines. Please know that we are beyond grateful for you and the work you are doing! I would like to encourage everyone to help show your thanks! Play CKBW or Country 100.7 to hear the National Anthem at 7pm each night and then right after, bang some pots and pans and make some noise on your front steps or out your windows for about 30 seconds to send a message to our heroes that we not only heard our anthem, but that we’re with them in love and gratitude!

This morning I was able to participate on a video call with leaders from around the world and spoke directly with Mayors and Chief Medial Officers from Chinese Cities that not only were devastated by COVID-19, but have now come out of it and relaxed their restrictions. While I shared what Nova Scotia and Bridgewater were doing, it was abundantly clear that the directives in place position us so much better than those cities and countries that saw this first, as well as some in Europe that are fighting with other levels of government. What we are doing can and will work if we all do our part.

Just a few more things before I dive into today’s updates.

First, I want to ensure there’s clarity regarding trail use. In my post yesterday, I noted that some of our trails needed to close because they sit within spaces technically categorized as parks (like the trail around the duck pond or the trail across from the hospital, for instance). We are working to make these classifications more accurate (ie: a trail is a trail, a park is a park). We will NOT be opening parks. The province has been (rightfully) clear on the need to keep those closed. We have trails that remain open but some neighbourhoods “lost” their trail with the order to close parks and so in order to prevent people from driving to other trails, we want to maintain that option in their own neighbourhoods. This will take some time to do but I want to be clear, we are only talking about trails, not parks. Standalone trails are allowed to remain open under the order by the Province.

Secondly, I want to comment on shopping. We know this is something we must do but I’ve received a few emails from individuals who feel singled out or potentially even unsafe from people who yell at them in a store. A single parent with a small child may not be able to shop without taking their child in and we do have some in our community with crippling anxiety that require someone’s assistance. I would respectfully ask that you do keep that in mind. But if you can shop alone, please do! Don’t go looking for loopholes or ways to make this a family outing if you have the option. Shop alone if you are in any way able to do so. It's not hard to designate one person from your family, and shop as infrequenly as you are able.

I want to also thank everyone who has sent me thank you messages or comments of encouragement. I really love this community and the people in it. I thought I was busy before but obviously things have drastically changed and while I’m exhausted, I’m also empowered and encouraged by our community. Thank you so much for your kind words. We’re all in this together and we have an awesome community of love and support here in Bridgewater and indeed all along the south shore!


Updates:


Federal

  • PM: The Government of Canada has signed an agreement with Amazon to manage the distribution of supplies and equipment to the provinces and territories.
  • $100 Million will be made available to Food Banks across Canada
  • The supplement to the GST credit and CCB (Canada Child Benefit) increase that was to take place in May will now be coming in April
  • Prime Minister Trudeau is encouraging everyone who is able to sign up for direct deposit for government programs they are participating in, to please do so.
  • PM: Modelling data that will be provided online will only be done when it can be verified for accuracy but remember, it all depends on us.
  • PM addressed President Trump’s ordering of 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada. He advised he continues to press and remind the US that trade must continue to flow both ways. He also noted that 3M itself has advised the President it would be a mistake to limit trade and prevent supplies from crossing the border and may lead to “other countries retaliating against the US”.
  • The PM also “reminded” us that many doctors and a thousand nurses live in Canada and cross the border to work in places like Detroit. 😉
  • The Prime Minster did add “we continue to receive what we need” in terms of supplies.


Provincial

  • 14 new cases of COVID (total now 207)
  • Only one case has been confirmed as community spread. Others are still under investigation.
  • Dr. Strang is concerned we do have the beginnings of community spread
  • 5 individuals in hospital and 21 who have recovered.
  • 8234 Negative tests in Nova Scotia and the lab is now at a 24/7 operation! Thank you to all those involved in making this a reality for our province!!
  • Regarding masks: Dr. Strang advised that Health Canada is doing research on this and he will advise when he receives their results.
  • COVID is spread by droplets and so it’s important that we use masks when they are needed to ensure the supply is available weeks from now when we will still need them for medical staff.
  • Dr. Strang: “We know it’s hard for our young people to stay home and not see their friends but if we all do our part then weeks from now, we won’t have to deal with a wave of more spread and we can look at the restrictions that are in place.”
  • Dr. Strang is not recommending families take loved ones out of care facilities as he is concerned they would not be able to provide the same level of care at home.
  • NS has done some testing for other places (ie: Moncton and Happy Valley Goose Bay) so the numbers coming out of the lab (total tests) might not always match the total NS number.
  • Final Word from Premier McNeil: “Another weekend is upon us and I am tired of hearing of grocery store, Wal-Mart, Tim Horton’s and other parking lots filled with cars as if we were not in the midst of a deadly pandemic. We are! To the reckless and selfish I am talking to you! A group gathering in a house, unnecessary trips out, blatant disregard, the virus will find you. Then it finds your loved ones. Then it finds your neighbourhoods and then we have community spread and then everyone is putting pressure on public health to sort it, our health care system to deal with it, and the government to pay for it when all we have to do, is stay the blazes home!”


Local

  • Stores are stepping up in cool and innovative ways. A restaurant is selling groceries to help alleviate stresses on grocery stores. A grocery store has listed everything it is doing to keep its customers healthy, a hardware store will take your order and walk it right to your car for you. These are just some of the many examples of not only creativity but in caring that we should be celebrating.
  • All parks remain closed and the list of trails that are still open is listed on my links page.
  • Barricades are in place to prevent parking at trail entrances. Remember that if you have to drive to walk to a trail, you are not to be there!
  • The Province has a fire ban in place for open fires. In Bridgewater, there are provisions to allow for the safe operation of outdoor cooking in your backyard, but you must abide by the Town’s burning bylaws.
  • Bridgewater Transit remains off the road for repairs until further notice (sorry folks). Thanks to our team for doing everything they can to get it back on the road!


Recipe

Pad Thai is a family favorite and one that our kids love to make when it's their turn to cook. It's also very forgiving so playing with the recipe is fun on this one.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/42968/pad-thai/


I want to echo the words of the Premier today. The weekend weather looks half-decent but that’s not an invitation to flock to the stores and shop for things you don’t need. It’s not an opportunity to invite friends over for a BBQ or to play video games. I know it’s difficult, especially on our youth. You want to be out. You want to be active. When I say we are in this together it’s not some fluffy catch phrase to appease the “good doctor” as the Premier calls Dr. Strang.

We are really and truly are all in this together. Call your friends or FaceTime with them. Host a virtual family dinner with loved ones you haven’t been able to see in awhile. Go for a walk (respecting physical distancing to others) but don’t call people to meet up for that walk. WE are the variable in how long this lasts. Please remember that!

I’m so proud of this community and for all of you who are listening, following the directives and doing your part. YOU are making the difference. #awesomebridgewater

“Give away kindness like you’ve got a hole in your pocket.” ~ Bob Goff

Kindness has always mattered but these days, it matters even more!

>>>>>
April 2, 2020

It’s a rainy Thursday but we are one step closer to the weekend!

I’m afraid we have important news on some of the trails in town. The Provincial order to close all parks means the trails within our parks must also be closed. This includes the trail around the Woodland Gardens duck pond as well as the trails in Generations Active Park and Glen Allen Park. We recognize that the use of these areas is predominantly for their amazing trails (not park activities), and that getting fresh air and exercise (safely) during this pandemic is important to our physical and mental well being. I’ve had a number of conversations with Minister Furey, who has been extremely helpful in working with us to find a solution. Because of that, staff and town council will be working on options to open these back up within the next month.

I know for many, especially parents of small children and/or those on streets without sidewalks, the trails were a reliable, safe place for you and your kids to let off steam. We’re moving as fast as we can to ensure you have that option again, but as of right now, the only trails available are listed below in the “Local” section (or see the Town of Bridgewater’s Facebook Page). Entering parks or trails not listed may result in a fine.

On a more uplifting note, CKBW and Country 100.7 will be playing our National Anthem every night at 7pm to honour our Doctors, Nurses, First Responders and other “heroes on the front lines fighting COVID-19” in our community. I would like to add a suggestion that each night, after the anthem plays, we all step outside, bang some pots and pans, play an instrument and make some noise for 30 seconds or so as our way of also letting our heroes know we’re thinking of them!

Thank you to all the local businesses that are stepping up in so many ways! Whether it’s media providing free advertising, businesses making it easy for physical distancing to be maintained or restaurants finding creative ways to keep people fed, you are making a big difference! We know times are tough and we can’t wait to return your generosity.

Today’s Updates:


Federal

  • The PM will speak to the Premiers tonight on topics like increased data sharing across the country
  • More information on virus projections will be coming BUT we as people are the variable that determines how and when things change. We can’t predict the end if people don’t follow the rules.
  • PM: “It takes time for the effects of our actions to be felt."
  • Prime Minister Trudeau reminded us taht everything the government, doctors, truckers and other do to help us and supply us won’t mean much if we don’t do our part.


Provincial

  • The State of Emergency has been extended until April 19
  • 20 new cases of COVID-19 (total 193 positive with 7446 negative test results)
  • 91% of cases are travel related with 9% under investigation for community spread (one case confirmed as such).
  • 9 people are in hospital but 16 have recovered and their cases are considered resolved
  • Dr. Strang: “There is potential for COVID-19 in every community in the province so no matter where you live, you need to be taking the necessary protective steps, practicing good hygiene and staying inside as much as possible.”
  • Cases are 51% male, 49% female
  • Dr. Strang: “If you can, please use online banking. If you’re at an ATM, wash your hands before and after. Don’t crowd around people - you must respect the physical distancing rules.”
  • Premier: $20 million “Worker Emergency Bridge Fund” to help self-employed and laid off workers who don’t quality for EI. This will provide a one-time $1000 payment to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the Federal Government’s CERB program that is not yet up and running.
  • Premier: $20 million Small Business Impact Grant. Eligible small businesses will receive a grant of 15% of their gross revenue from either April 2019 or February 2020 to a maximum of $5000. This can be used for any purpose. Information on how to apply will be online soon (and I will add this to the links post pinned to the top of my Facebook Page)
  • The NSHA zone map is now active. Our zone, the Western Zone is very large and includes the South Shore, down around Yarmouth and back up through the Annapolis Valley. The map reflects the number of tests conducted within each zone.
  • Nova Scotia RCMP charged 2 people with failing to maintain social/ physical distancing measures and there were two other separate incidents for failing to self-isolate after returning to Canada.


Local

  • All parks (and trails within parks are closed)
  • Trails that ARE open include:

o Centennial Trail
o Brookside Cemetery
o Michelin Spurline Connector
o MicMac Connector
o Porter Crescent Connector

Check https://www.explorebridgewater.ca/trails for information.

  • Town Council will begin the process of a bylaw change to facilitate the reopening of our trails within parks, but this will take some time and I will update you as things progress.
  • A reminder to businesses in and outside of Bridgewater. You are required to know, understand and enforce physical distancing directives. It is a $7500 fine plus $1000 to the customer for failing to adhere to the Medical Protection Act. There has been more than sufficient warning on this, so if you encounter a business that is in violation of this directive, please contact the Bridgewater Police Service (for businesses in town) or the RCMP (for businesses out of town). The non-emergency numbers are listed in the pinned post of links at the top of my Facebook page.


Recipe

I came across this recipe and have added to my list of things to try as it combines two of my old favourites: sloppy joes and quesadillas. On a cold and windy day like today, this is comfort food in 25 minutes or less!

https://www.delish.com/…/a54…/sloppy-joe-quesadillas-recipe/


I’m getting some great artwork from kids in our community so keep it coming. Take a photo of your child’s drawing, colouring or painting and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject “Art Contest”. I’m going to feature some of these on Mondays and prizes will be awarded. Then, when this is all behind us, we’re going to showcase them all at the DesBrisay Museum!!

Cold, windy, snowy, rainy days like today aren’t easy and they are made more challenging due to our current circumstances. I want to encourage you to remember that brighter and better days are ahead. Each day we get through brings us a day closer to the end of this. Remember to limit your outings. Remember that only one person from your home is to be in a store at a time and of course remember the physical distancing directives and hopefully soon we will start to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

"Do what you can with all you have, wherever you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

You’re doing great, keep it up!

>>>>>
April 1, 2020

There were some big updates yesterday as well as today (especially provincially), and this post is a recap of both days.

Today I want to send out a big thank you to everyone working on the “front lines” in retail. From those trucking in the goods we need, to those stocking the shelves, cleaning and of course all the cashiers and customer service workers who are doing your best. I know your job looks very different today than it did just a month or so ago but what you are doing is amazing! You are amazing and on behalf of a grateful community, thank you!

Updates:


Federal

  • The Prime Minister gave more details around the 75% wage subsidy yesterday. The program is for businesses that have seen a 30% of greater loss in businesses and will cover the first $58,700 of an employee’s salary. The PM also asked that businesses that can afford to cover the remaining 25% of their employee salaries do so and that companies abusing the program will face consequences.
  • Today the PM announced that over 3000 companies are stepping up to help in various fields to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Federal Government has moved forward with agreements with multiple companies to begin making ventilators and other vital supplies for the medical field.
  • The government is working on finding more “made in Canada” solutions to help fight COVID.


Provincial

  • The Premier announced Monday that all schools (and daycare centres) will remain closed until May 1st and they will reassess again as we get closer to that date.
  • The Province is launching what they call “Nova Scotia’s Learning Plan” which includes e-learning as well as at home educational options for those without internet.
  • Teachers will be contacting parents/students this week to begin formulating a plan that works best for you. NOTE: I have updated the links page pinned to the top of my Facebook Page with a link to the curriculum site.
  • Students who were on track to move to the next grade will still do so. Those on track to graduate, will. Those needing this term to either grade or graduate will “get the supports they need to do so”. As Premier McNeil stated, “your success matters” and you will not be left behind.
  • Those without internet will receive packages to their home for schoolwork.
  • Big thanks to our teachers and principals for pivoting to this new reality and truly missing your students! Your love for them is evident and parents across the province thank you for that!
  • Monday, Dr. Strang announced there were 5 new cases of COVID (one due to community spread - see note below). Today he announced an additional 20, all related to travel. The total is now 147.
  • There have been 5763 negative test results. In other words, 3% of those with symptoms have tested positive for COVID-19. This means 97% of those tested are negative.
  • Four staff and two residents in three long-term care facilities have tested positive.
  • Yesterday however, Dr. Strang confirmed that Nova Scotia has its first confirmed case of community spread of COVID-19. This was in relation to the Lake Echo St. Patrick’s Day event. All other participants at that event have come back with negative test results. This should be a wake-up call to us all that with the arrival of community spread, there is no wiggle room in following Dr. Strang’s directive.
  • Just a reminder that “community spread” is the term used when the virus moves between two people and neither had traveled. We should assume it is in our communities and if we all behave as if we have it and don’t want to spread it, our actions will be such that the risk to us all is reduced.
  • Dr. Strang stated that we are to “limit essential gatherings to no more than 5 people. This is not the time to get together with people because you want to. You get together with 5 or less people only if you have to.” NOTE: This is clearer language regarding this is very helpful. It means you are not to socialize.
  • Shopping is to be done by one person in your home.
  • Dr. Strang, “This is how we get out of this as quickly as we can and are able to start loosening the restrictions. It will be a number of weeks but the firmer we are and the harder we work together to follow public heath directives, the sooner we’ll be able to start to relax things.”
  • The Province will begin on reporting cases by zone (there are five in NS) when that mapping is completed and uploaded.


Locally

  • A directive from the Minister of Justice now moves the province from education to enforcement of the Medical Protection Act. It is important that people understand that the constant repetition of the protocols and multiple locations and methods for people to read, watch or listen to them, means there can be no excuses. It is up to each of us to understand what they are and follow them. When we say "we all need to do our part", that includes knowing the Do’s and Don’ts pertaining to the State of Emergency.
  • I want to remind people that places like Souls Harbour and the Food Bank in Bridgewater remain open (check online or call for hours) and you are allowed to walk or drive to them. If you need food or a meal, these resources remain and essential part of our community. I would also encourage those looking for places they can donate, to reach out to groups like these or others that continue to serve our people in these difficult times. They will need your support now more than ever!
  • Someone locally is going door to door saying they have a cure for COVID-19. Dr. Strang made it clear today that these “miracle cures” are not legitimate and this has been reported. I would ask that you use extreme caution for these, as well as online, email or text scams, including those selling masks or services promising to get money to you. Use only official government sites (and the links to those are in the post pinned to the top of my Facebook Page).
  • Signage is going up around the Woodland Gardens Trail (duck pond) tomorrow, encouraging folks to all walk clockwise. I would remind everyone however that it is only the trail that is open so stopping to feed the ducks or sit in the park is not an option under the Provincial directive. Please note that as the situation changes daily, trail use is under constant review to ensure the safety of our community.
  • Last week I suggested that we try walking on sidewalks in the same direction as the flow of traffic (where there is a sidewalk on both sides of the street). This is especially important to try on the bridges where it is difficult to step aside to pass someone without stepping into traffic. If you could pass this suggestion on to others to also try that would be awesome!
  • NOTE: Bridgewater Transit: We've had a mechanical issue with the bus and as parts are a little slower to arrive due to the current situation we are in, we've had to take the buses off the road today (and until further notice). We will update when the repair has been completed.


Recipe

This was a new one for us for our Saturday “date night” routine and it was a hit.

https://www.allrecipes.com/rec…/220597/simple-garlic-shrimp/

We did the math and for the two of us to have this one a bed of rice, the total cost was about $10. I’m sure this would be equally delicious with another meat or veggie in place of shrimp as well.


A note for kids!

Yesterday in my video I launched a contest for the kids in our community. I know it’s hard to keep our young ones entertained and let’s face it, we could all use a little distraction these days.

Kids, I’d like your help. If you could draw, colour or paint me a picture, take a photo of it and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (with Art Contest in the subject line). I’d love to share it when we live stream our council meetings and maybe in some of my video updates on Mondays. Make sure to include your first name and age please. We’ll even have some prizes to give out! We all have a part to play and children bring so much joy and light to the world. If we can share some of that with each other, I think it will help make things a little easier for a lot of people.

Thank you Bridgewater for continuing to heed the advice from Dr. Strang, Premier McNeil, me as well and our police service. You are what makes this community so amazing and you’re doing a great job!

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” ~ Winston Churchill

If we can each take a moment to reach out to someone else, and with love and kindness let them know we are thinking of them, perhaps we can change their attitude and outlook and help get them through the day.

>>>>>
March 30, 2020

Update for March 30th and near the end, a little contest for the kids. I will add the details announced today in my written post tomorrow including the news that schools will not return before May 1st.

Posted by Mayor David Mitchell on Monday, 30 March 2020

>>>>>
March 29, 2020

Unfortunately, an update is required today.

Premier McNeil addressed Nova Scotians this afternoon with disappointment and frustration with those who continue to disregard the State of Emergency directives. Although it is a few, it only takes one to ruin this for everyone. Removing barriers and tape blocking parking lots has put communities around our province at risk. While the vast majority of you are doing your part and I thank you for that, there are still those who selfishly seem to think they are exempt from the situation we are all in. To that end, Premier McNeil has called Justice Minister Mark Furey to escalate efforts with enforcement.

“To the reckless few, shame on you. If you can’t do your part, law enforcement will do it for you” ~ Premier McNeil

The time for education is over and enforcement will now begin. We are all in this together. Kids, young people, adults, seniors, every single one of us is affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Every single one of us also want this to end as soon as possible and that only happens if every single person does their part.

I don’t like having an update like this. I try to look for some kind of light even in the darkest situations but today I am really angry. I am losing my patience with those who don’t seem to care about their friends, neighbours or family. They don’t seem to care about businesses struggling to stay afloat, who just want this to end soon so their customers (and their livelihood) can come back.

There are no excuses for not knowing the rules. As the Premier said, there are so many people trying to explain to their children why they can’t play outside with their best friend or to their elderly parents why it’s too risky to come and visit and it flies in the face of those struggling each day with these rules in place to see “the reckless few” doing whatever they please. I implore you to smarten up!

Today’s Updates:

Federal

  • $7.5 million for more staff and resources for Kid’s Help Phone The number is 1-800-668-6868 and they are accessible 24/7 for any kids or teens needing to talk.
  • $9 million for the United Way to help with their efforts to serve our most vulnerable
  • Up to $1,000,000 fine for those returning to Canada and not self-isolating (and if that’s you, you signed a declaration stating you would adhere to this order!)


Provincial

  • 12 new cases of COVID (122 total) All new cases are travel related or tied to existing cases
  • Three are in hospital but seven earlier cases are now fully recovered
  • 4731 negative tests to date
  • No spread at this time from the St. Patrick’s day event at Lake Echo
  • In the last 24 hours 800 people have been tested, quadrupling our capabilities since last week
  • There are no positive tests of the residents of the two initial long-term care facilities identified yesterday
  • A third long-term care facility now has a staff person who has tested positive. Family and staff are being notified and tests in the facility are ongoing
  • No cases of people over the age of 80 (the age group most at risk)
  • Testing non-symptomatic people risks of producing a false negative and there’s no guarantee those individuals do not become symptomatic in the future.
  • Please send one person per family to do the shopping! It is NOT a family outing!
  • Law enforcement has been directed to escalate efforts for people in violation of the State of Emergency directives.
  • Reminder: everyone crossing the NS border (except essential service personnel) must self-isolate for 14-days (and if that’s you, you were told so at the NS/NB border!)


Locally

  • I continue to receive messages regarding people out in groups (non-household) and not observing physical distancing protocols. I want to remind you that these aren’t suggestions or ideas but directives under the State of Emergency. You MUST follow these or face the consequences
  • Police are following directives from the Minister of Justice and will be enforcing (not educating on) the State of Emergency
  • Businesses, you are doing a great job of keeping your customers safe. Please note that businesses are required to know and understand the directives from Dr. Strang. If you have questions, please check the links I have pinned in the post at the top of my facebook page.
  • Town trails are open but people are reminded that the Premier has asked us to walk in our communities for exercise. If you have to drive to a trail, you are going tooo far.

I’m afraid I don’t have a recipe today folks. As I said yesterday, I had hoped for a quiet Sunday but today’s update from Dr. Strang and the Premier was important to get out to you.

I again want to thank all of you who are working hard to get through this under our State of Emergency. I know the days are long, the kids are bored and it’s easy for tensions and frustrations in the home to rise. I want to encourage you all to continue to reach out to others. Perhaps your church has a directory of its members. Pick up the phone and call someone who might be alone. Or try calling someone from your gym or club, your office or class. Continue to lift each other up and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

"In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path - the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love." ~ Amit Ray

>>>>>
March 28, 2020

Well, the sun is shining, the temperature is in the double digits and I see a lot of people out walking and practicing physical distancing. Thank you!!

I also however am getting a lot of messages about people still walking in groups (not all part of the same household) and not practicing that vital physical distancing of six feet! There are apparently people of all ages (kids to seniors) walking in groups. You must stop this immediately!

*** Our police service has been instructed to begin fining those not adhering to the State of Emergency so don't be surprised if you end up getting fined $1000 for every person in your group. You can't say you haven't been warned! ***

This fine is in place because you are not only risking the health of our entire community but risking further restrictions on everyone in Nova Scotia. I’m disappointed in the people who are disregarding Dr. Strang and the Premier. You’re letting us all down. Pleaes smarten up!

For the rest of you, thank you so much for sticking to the rules in order to try and shorten how long this lasts. We are hearing positive reports out of B.C. on how physical distancing is impacting their modelling, showing their curve beginning to flatten all because people are listening. We know we’re already taking steps ahead of them, so let’s all work to flatten that curve even more here in Nova Scotia!

Yesterday a lot of people were out shopping as pension cheques were received. I would like to ask those of us fortunate enough to still have our regular pay or who are perhaps not paid on a “pension day” to try shopping on another day. Yesterday was a very busy day for those relying on a fixed income and trying to stretch that dollar to the last day. If we could try leaving “pension day” as the day those receiving that use to shop, we may find it much easier to ensure physical distancing and reduce the stress on our frontline grocery and pharmacy store staff trying to manage crowds.

Today’s shout-out is to local media. There’s a reassurance of hearing local voices on the radio and seeing stories from our local reporters in print. It can bring a sense of normalcy in this difficult time and on top of the important information they bring to us all, they are also bringing us a welcome distraction from the state we are in. Thank you!

Just a few updates today and I am really hoping that I won’t have a post this Sunday. Fingers crossed!

Federal

* Beginning Monday at noon, domestic air and rail travel is prohibited for anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19.

* Local public transit (Bridgewater Transit) will also be prohibiting anyone showing symptoms from boarding the bus as per these new federal restrictions. NOTE: IF you are showing symptoms you shouldn’t be out anywhere anyway!

Provincial

* Twenty new cases of COVID. Currently the province cannot confirm if any is due to community spread.

* One of these cases is of a staff member at a nursing home in Antigonish, and another is a staff member at a retirement living facility in Dartmouth. All families have been notified. Please note that there are no cases of COVID among any residents at any long-term care facility in Nova Scotia.

* 4031 negative tests in NS and 110 positive.

* Sportfishing season is now delayed until May 1st

* 800 iPads are being distributed to long-term care facilities so seniors can connect with loved ones.

* Veterinarians are now able to provide virtual care and urgent in-person emergency services.

Locally

* A reminder that parks are closed and physical distancing rules are in place for everyone. (I am seeing too many people out on smoke breaks, huddled together!).

* Another reminder that filling a parking lot to then walk on the trails was exactly what the Premier had said not to do. We risk having to close all trails if people continue to disregard this. Please try to walk within your own neighbourhood. I do understand there are many who live outside our community who have seen their trails closed or may live on a road that has no sidewalk (and high speeds). I would ask that you reach out to your municipal councillour to ask about options in your neighbourhood as part of respecting the Premier’s request.

* I am happy to update you all to say my mom is now home and self-isolating. Thank you again for your support and encouragement.

* When out for shopping, do not browse and please don’t touch things you don’t think you’ll be buying. Get the items you need, proceed to the checkout and head home please. The longer you are out, the greater the risk. You are also increasing the risk to staff who are working so hard to ensure we have the items we need. We all need to do our part and this is a big one!

* It is NOT OK to have people (from other homes) coming over to visit. It’s 2020, use your phone or tablet! I continue to hear of people inviting people over. This must stop now!

Recipe

OK a super simple one today: Tuna Melts!

We use bagels for this. Served with a side salad, it makes a great lunch or supper. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bagels in half as you normally would and lay them on a cookie sheet. Drain your can(s) of tuna and put in a bowl and mix with mayonnaise and a little juice from that pickle jar I know you have in your fridge. We use three cans for our family of five. Add some relish if you want, mix in a little salt, pepper and green onion if you have it. Top each bagel half and add some cheese on top, sliced or grated. Place in the oven until the cheese has melted. This is a quick go to for us and yet another recipe that the kids can throw together for the family.

I hope you’re able to enjoy the weekend and I would encourage you all to “disconnect” tonight for an hour (or more). Play a boardgame or card game with the family. Tomorrow we’re having a family dinner over Zoom with my mom and Trina’s family (all in Ontario), from 7 different households. I’ll let you know on Monday how it goes.

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” ~ Doe Zantamata

Our community is a light that will never go out! Let’s be that brilliant light for each other!

>>>>>
March 27, 2020

Well everyone it's looking like Saturday is shaping up to be a beautiful day weather-wise. I really want to encourage you to get out in your yards and get some fresh air. I do however want to suggest that we be careful when we go out. If we choose to go for a walk, ensure that we are 1) not driving to where we are going to walk and 2) we are ALL practicing social (now called physical) distancing. Those fortunate to have a yard, it looks like a great day to work on that. There are many who don’t have a yard and so using the trails is an option we want to keep in place as long as possible, so let’s be respectful of that please.

Before I move into today’s updates, I want to remind people that while trails in Bridgewater are open, parks are CLOSED. That means if you want to walk around the duck pond you can (and we are encouraging everyone to go clockwise), that also means you CANNOT stop and feed the ducks. I’ve had a few reports of groups congregating in the park and I will remind folks you may be fined $1000 fine per person. Beyond this, we may have to look at closing that trail if people continue to ignore this directive.

My son told me about something he saw online and I think it’s an amazing idea and I would like to encourage you all to do it with me. We know that right now our letter carriers are still out delivering the mail and in many cases, touching and having to open your mailbox. The idea Caleb shared was from someone who posted a note on their mailbox that said: “I’m sanitizing my mailbox daily to keep your workplace safe”

This small and very simply gesture could make a huge difference in keeping so many people healthy. Let’s all give this a shot. #ProtectedPost

Updates:


Federal

* Wage subsidy for qualifying business going to 75% (up from 10% previously announced). This will help companies keep workers on the payroll and this subsidy and have a big impact when we get towards the end of this. Note: This will be backdated to March 15th

* The Canada Emergency Business Account will help small “storefront” businesses with a $40,000 loan (through the banks) guaranteed by the government and will be interest free for the first year and if you meet certain conditions, $10,000 of it will be forgivable.

* $12.5 Billion dollars through export development and business development bank of Canada to help small and medium sized businesses with their operational cash flow requirements

* GST/HST payments on imports will be deferred until June (allowing business to keep that money longer to help meet their current needs)

* Government is hoping with these new measures, employers will rehire those recently laid off

* Additional measures for our most vulnerable Canadians will be announced in the coming days


Province

* 17 New cases of COVID-19 (total at 90)

* All new cases are travel related or connected to travelers and none are related to the Lake Echo case from yesterday

* Two are in hospital but the three previously in hospital have now recovered.

* Two cases that the public should be aware of: March 11 in New Glasgow at a business and March 12 at a hockey game in Antigonish. NSHA has asked if people think they might fall into that area of concern AND show symptoms, they should take the online assessment. Dr. Strang noted that we are close to the two weeks since those instances took place so today is really the last day that if they get sick it would be related.

* Rent deferral program for small businesses forced to close under the public health order - landlords will be asked to sign a rent deferral agreement, and government will guarantee up to $5000/month if that business goes under. This is for three months.

* Restaurants will now be allowed to include alcohol with takeout and delivery orders

* Smaller food banks receive funding from the province

* The government will be purchasing 100 cellphones for those self-isolating and have no other means to communicate

* Government will be providing additional funds for shelters

* Dr. Strang: While the numbers may seem concerning, we are three weeks into this and I see these numbers as a success and a demonstration that the protocols are working. Thank you to the Nova Scotians following these directives.”

* Testing has now expanded to include health care workers who have respiratory symptoms. They will be tested for COVID regardless of whether or not they travelled

* Dr. Strang: “There continue to be cases of people who are harassing people who have tested positive in communities or on social media”. *I will add as Mayor of Bridgewater, this will not be tolerated in our community. We are better than that. We need to lift each other up not tear them down.

* Dr. Strang: “I like a laugh and I like the memes but I represent thousands of workers so when you are thanking me, you are thanking them.”

* Provincial Fire Ban in place (that’s 100% of us remember). This ban has been imposed to limit any added stresses on our first responders during this time.


Locally

* Please ensure physical distancing on sidewalks. When passing someone BOTH people should move to the side as you pass each other.

* It’s going to be a beautiful Saturday but that is NOT an invitation to head to the parks and beaches. The State Of Emergency remains in effect. Don’t be the person who triggers increased restrictions for the rest of us. And don't be surprised if you are fined.

* Limit unnecessary trips. That really means exactly what it says. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out in your car (and I do believe as I’ve said, belting out a tune in the car by yourself can be therapeutic) but let’s keep ourselves home when we can please and thank you!

* Please remember to keep 911 for real emergencies and not to report State of Emergency violations. If you need to call, use the non-emergency line for your community (Bridgewater Police Service or RCMP), but please ensure you have accurate information. Please don’t call out families that are out together, and try to politely enquire if you can, before reporting.

Recipe

This is another one that looks like it’s really fancy but it’s pretty simple to make. Here’s a tip: When you are cutting the chicken into halves (to make it thinner and easier to cook), place them on your cutting board, cover the top with plastic wrap and then pound with a rolling pin or something to make them all the same thickness (thinner is better). Parents, this is a really fun job for the kids!

https://www.allrecipes.com/re…/214488/lemon-chicken-piccata/

We’re almost to the end of another week and every week we get through means we are another week closer to the end of this. We know the number of cases will continue to increase but we know that if we all do our part, continue to lift each other up and reach out to those in our community (as I know you have), we will be a stronger community for it.

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” ~ Henry Kissinger

Our community is our diamond!

>>>>>
March 26, 2020

Another dose of cold and snow on the South Shore certainly highlights how different things can be day to day!

We heard from the Premier and Dr. Strang this afternoon that we have our first case of COVID-19 unrelated to travel. How it was contracted is under investigation. We knew this was coming and if we are all doing our part, then we should already be acting in a manner that assumed it was happening.

This morning the Prime Minister spoke to the nation and clearly articulated not only the 14 day self-isolation mandate for people returning to Canada, but the penalty for failing to do so (see Federal Update below). This, along with the directives from the province about travel should certainly drive home the message.

Today I want to focus a little on those who have had to quickly adapt and are fortunate to be able to work from home. Perhaps some are finding it more difficult than they imagined. I can tell you that for me, I can find myself easily distracted when not in an office environment. If that's you too, you may find some help from the local resources shared by Andrew Button at WorkEvolved (I will share a link in the post pinned at the top of my Facebook page). We all need to be there for one another and that includes helping those struggling to work in different environments, especially if you have kids or animals at home with you.

Of course, many of you are not working at all right now. We know you need assistance and there are programs coming to do just that (also to be updated in the pinned post). Take heart in knowing there are a LOT of people working a LOT of hours to get things up and running for this sudden and increased need.

Federal Update:

* $107 Billion now approved by Parliament to help Canadians

* The Quarantine Act is being enforced, with a one million dollar fine for those returning to Canada and not self-isolating. This is IN ADDITION to those measures put in place by the Province of Nova Scotia. We will be enforcing this locally.

* The PM addressed concerns today regarding President Trump's position that the US economy should restart at Easter and restrictions lifted. The Canadian border will only reopen when our government feels it should and not based on US actions.

* There is a text scam going around about the new federal benefits. Please only use Canada.ca for information on those programs.

Provincial Update:

* Five new cases in Nova Scotia (one unrelated to travel)

* Community spread is expected and when that happens, anticipate enhanced testing in relevant communities. NOTE: Community spread is the term being used to describe contact between two individuals in a community that spreads the virus vs. someone having a case related to travel. It does NOT mean in this community. Locations are not being given out and as noted, we should be acting as if it is here and that will reduce the risk.

* Ability to test for COVID continues to increase. Yesterday the lab completed 474 tests - a month ago that same amount would have taken two weeks!

* NSHA offers a thank you to the people of NS for listening to Dr. Strang and for the positive wishes they have received. It means a lot to people.

* NSHA: Systems are being adapted minute by minute with more changes to come. Don't be concerned by the moving of patients and staff or ER reconfiguration in preparation for what's to come.

* NSHA: 17 Primary assessment sites located across the province.

*NSHA: Mental Health and Addiction Services are being enhanced

* NSHA: For those making masks: Dr. Carr appreciates the spirit behind the effort but they are working on a properly coordinated effort so the masks are specified to meet appropriate standards

*IWK: "The things you are doing as Nova Scotians, to ensure social distancing is working and helping to keep others safe. Thank you!"

*IWK: Virtual resources for metal health are available on the IWK website. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call 1-888-429-8167

Local Update:

* The new bulky waste program that was to launch April 1 will now be delayed until further notice.

* The landfill site is closed to the public at this time but roadside collection remains in place. Please note as with everything, this is subject to change.

* We will be posting signs regarding the suggestion to walk clockwise around the duck pond trail but please remember that it is only trails that are open not parks and so congregating to have a picnic or the feed the ducks (that you shouldn't be feeding anyway). That type of use is not permitted.

* The links post at the top of my Facebook Page has a list of updated (and verified) sources of information and programs for individuals, families and businesses.

Today I'm sharing one of my favourite breakfast recipes, but pancakes make a great supper too. This is another good one for the kids to make. We always make extra and freeze them because they can easily be put in the toaster and reheated later for a quick meal or snack.

https://www.allrecipes.com/re…/24530/buttermilk-pancakes-ii/

We're more than halfway through another week and you're doing great! I saw this quote today and wanted to share it with you.

"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. ' ~Thich Nhat Hahn

You've got this!

>>>>>

March 25, 2019

South Shore Community Chat with Mayor David Mitchell

South Shore Community Chat with Mayor David Mitchell

Posted by Simple Local Life on Wednesday, 25 March 2020


We’re halfway though the week and I was thrilled to wake up to that sunshine, weren’t you?!

A bit of good news for our family: my mother who was in Portugal with several failed attempts to get home, is now en route to Ontario! I want to thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Remember to click “see more” below for all today’s updates.

This morning I did a live segment (link attached) with Jennifer over at Simple Local Life called South Shore Community Chat. This is a new series she’s doing and I would encourage you to check out her page and follow it to keep updated on everything local.

I’d also like to give a big shout-out to our letter carriers as another group working hard to keep things moving. It’s easy to take things for granted but the normalcy of receiving something in the mail is very much appreciated.

Here are today’s updates:

Federal

  • $82 Billion-dollar aid package was passed by the House this morning and is now before the Senate
  • People impacted by COVID-19 may access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit replaces two benefits announced last week in order to make it easier to apply. It will give every Canadian worker who has lost their paycheque due to COVID-19 $2000 a month for the next four months. An application portal will launch soon (and I will ensure that link is added at the links post at the top of this Facebook page)
  • Across Canada, 10,000 people are being tested per day.

Provincial

  • Dr. Strang announced 17 new cases of COVID-19, all related to travel or related to people who had travelled, bringing the total number is 68. Two are now fully recovered.
  • 2772 Negative tests to date
  • These increases were fully anticipated based on the number of people returning to the province. For each case, we are seeing an average of two other contacts being infected. This is demonstrating that our protocols are indeed working to limit the spread.
  • In terms of spread, we are two to three weeks behind other provinces, but we are ahead in many of our directives, so we are in the right place doing the right things. It just depends on us doing our part. If we stick with this for the next few weeks, we have a chance to stay ahead of this.
  • Reminder: if you are required to self-isolate due to travel, you can go out in your yard or balcony but remain on your property.
  • We need to remember to help those in self-isolation NOT to shame or shun them. Please reach out - a short phone call could be the highlight of someone's day.
  • There has been lots of discussion lately around our lack of community spread, and Dr. Strang clarified that means our cases so far are all related to travel. He asked us to keep in mind that we are still in Influenza season and COVID-19 presents with “flu-like” symptoms. (Keep in mind that 2772 people had symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19.)
  • The system in place at the NS border is working well.
  • Dr. Strang reminded us that following the protocols gives us each a sense of control over something that could otherwise seem uncontrollable. He told us to talk about it with others, discuss your feelings and support one another (video calls with friends is a great way to feel more connected).

Local

  • I am asking people to respect the directive from the Premier and limit your unneeded trips out.
  • Going to other people’s homes to pick up purchases through buy and sell pages puts you and the seller at risk. We are being asked to limit our shopping to needs not wants, so please remain at home except for necessities, work as applicable, and exercise.
  • While the Province has declared taxis as exempt from the social distancing requirements, that doesn’t mean groups of people need to pile into a cab. Again, please do your part to limit the exposure to yourself and others. If you need a taxi to go to the store, sit in the back and go alone. We each need to do our part and don’t forget wash your hands!! The virus lasts several days on surfaces, so think about what you touch!
  • Taxes are on everyone’s mind and as I’ve noted on a couple of posts, Council is discussing this now, well before tax bills go out at the end of April. It is important for us to find every possible option available to us to take care of you, our ratepayers. We need time to ask the questions, do the research and get the answers. We need to speak to the province about supports for municipalities and ensure that any plan we put in place will achieve the intended results. I spoke more about this in the live chat with Jennifer this morning, so you can see more there, but I appreciate your patience.
  • Remember that a lot of our local businesses have been able to pivot to on site or home delivery. I would encourage you to shop local. As someone very accurately put it, “It was a local business that supported your charity, sports team or class trip and now it’s time for you to support them.”

Today I don’t have a link to a recipe to post but I’ll share what we made for supper last night. Naan Bread Pizza is something that we do often. You can get a package of Naan bread locally at all grocery stores in town (they also freeze well). We cut up the toppings we want on our individual pizzas, put some pasta sauce on (instead of pizza sauce, because we like ingredients that do double or triple duty). Because the Naan bread is already cooked, you’re just warming things to your desired temperature and in a few minutes, you have an awesome pizza with a nice light base to it. We had ours with a spinach salad - easy and delicious. As an added bonus, this is a super simple meal for your kids to prepare for the whole family and a great distraction while you have those devices in airplane mode 😊

We know the current situation is impacting every single person and business in our community. By doing our part we can shorten the time we are under a State of Emergency and the sooner than ends, the sooner we can get back to whatever normal will look like. It will be great to hang out with friends, see our extended families and get people back to work, so keep that goal in mind as you spend your time in your home.

Finally I found this quote that I think really resonates with the state we’re in.

“Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Lift each other up. Reach out to someone new today. Take 20 min to recharge without devices and take care of yourself.

>>>>>

March 24, 2020

DM Im 1Ok so let’s talk about something else for a second. SNOW!! Are you kidding me? I’m not sure which one of you ordered that but let’s try to keep it at a minimum from now on please and thank you!

I hope like me, you found that a pleasant distraction this morning, at least for a little while.

Before I get into the updates for today, I want to give a special thank you today to the various companies or groups that normally have gift card giveaways for clients or customers but have now redirected them to service groups and organizations helping people in need. Dr. Strang had a great quote today. “Our collective actions DO matter!” This is what a connected community looks like and I’m so happy to see so many stepping up. Thank you!


Federal Update:

  • Parliament was reconvened to pass legislation to address COVID-19.
  • 2020 Olympics will now be in 2021 (sorry sports fans, 2020 has not been your year).


Provincial Update:

  • 10 additional cases, all travel related or connected to earlier announces cases (total 51).
  • There is no community spread at this time.
  • 2474 people have tested negative in NS.
  • Lab capacity at the QEII has now doubled (with more capacity anticipated) and now we can test all the close contacts of those who tested positive. This is GREAT news for our province!
  • Six regional hospitals are prepared to treat COVID-19 locally when needed and are doubling down on cleaning protocols.
  • Regulated health professions can only stay open for emergent or urgent cases (check provincial website for who is exempt). All non-regulated health professions must remain closed except for podiatrists.
  • There have been cases of people lying about their travel history, calling 911 or going to the hospital in order to try and get a COVID-19 test. You are putting others at risk by doing so. Please be truthful.
  • 811 has added 53 tele-health nurses and is training 40 more. They have 79 lines and that will increase to 138 in the next 48 hrs.
  • You MUST use the online assessment tool before calling 811 if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • There have been a lot of questions circulating about what is essential and what is not. A list will be posted by the province soon (and that link will be added to my post with all the other links at the top of this page).
  • As an aside, it was really refreshing to see a moment between the Premier and Dr. Strang joking about yesterday when the Premier called the Doctor Dr. Strange and today calling him the Premier. With all the pressure they are under, it was reassuring to see their sense of humour is well in tact.


Local Update:

  • Bridgewater Town Council met virtually last night. The operation of our town continues despite the current situation. I want to again thank our staff team for everything they are doing!
  • Despite meeting virtually, we continue to live-stream our council meetings as they happen to ensure we continue to be open and transparent. As we approach budget time, we will be looking for innovative ways to get the public involved in the process.
  • Clarity on Parks and Trails: Parks are closed but the trails within our parks (like the one around the duck pond or the track at Kinsmen Field for example) remain open. This is subject to change at anytime! I’m encouraging people using the duck pond trail to all walk clockwise to avoid coming “face to face” with others.
  • I’m receiving several messages about our large local employers. It is important that the employee speak to their supervisor or HR representative. I’ve had several conversations with various managers (and will continue to) and have been made aware that there are options for staff with concerns but please understand, it has to be the employee that works through that with them. Direct conversations between employee and employer will help eliminate a “broken telephone/rumour mill” situation. As the Premier said this week, “Employers must listen to employees to address concerns but employees, it is up to you to work with your employer to find solutions.” Further to that, Dr. Strang reminded us today that his order, under the Health Protection Act trumps any workplace directives or collective agreements. If after speaking to your employer, the issue remains unresolved, please contact the public health office in your area.

Dr. Strang spoke today about the new cases being all related to travel or proximity to those who had. To date all cases have been this way and this, is good news. The majority of new cases in Canada are now by community spread so for Nova Scotia with no community spread so far, it means that the measures in place are working. We do know that we will see community spread, but if people follow the directives in place, we can slow that down. I cannot stress enough that if we all do our part, we can stay ahead of this. Thank you for continuing to do that!

Yesterday in my video address I asked you all to do me a favour and that was to disconnect for a bit each day. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we all did that together? So, let’s start with tonight. After all the news and updates for the day have come to pass, let’s all take fifteen minutes (to start) between 5:00 and 7:00pm tonight, put our devices in airplane mode, close the laptop and recharge ourselves. This is important for our mental health and something we will all benefit from. We can expand this each day as we feel comfortable.

Finally, here’s another recipe. This is a fan favorite in our home and despite looking a little fancy perhaps, it’s super simple to make. You can substitute chicken or another meat for the shrimp or just use veggies instead. I tone the heat down a little, so I tend to use a quarter of a chili. Less than ten ingredients and if you try it, I’d love to know how it went.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/…/quick-prawn-coconut-tomato-cu…

Remember to continue to be there for each other. Lift each other up and we will get through this because together, we can get through anything.

>>>>>

March 23, 2020

Good afternoon everyone. I hope despite all that is happening around us, you were able to have a good weekend and enjoy some of the sunshine that we were fortunate to have.  I must tell you; I am really thankful that the dark days of winter are now behind us.

As you are no doubt all now aware, we are in a provincial state of emergency.  While this continues to be an evolving situation, there are a few constants I want to remind you of.

If you return to Canada and now additionally, if you are entering this province by any mode of transit, you must self-isolate for 14 days. 

Going to the store is NOT self isolating and for those required to self-isolate from travel, there is now a $1000 fine for violating this directive.  I am frustrated by the people I am hearing of disregarding this.  I can assure you that you will be reported to the authorities, you will be fined, and if you continue to defy this, you may be arrested. More importantly though, you are risking the people in this community. Don’t be that person please.  The same for social gatherings that are now limited to five or less.  Hearing of large tournaments in the city that still went ahead on the weekend was just part of what has now triggered these new changes.  Disregarding this will also yield each person a $1000 fine.  I implore you to take this situation seriously and thank those that already are.

As I said, we are in a state of emergency in part because people didn’t listen to Dr. Strang or the Premier.  This is essentially the beginning of week two and this is where we’re at. Week two of many weeks yet to come.  I want you to think about that just for a moment.  Further disregard for their directives will simply mean further restrictions are put in place.  The longer people disobey the protocols in place the longer they will be in place.  Want this over? Do your part. We can all do that.

I want to share a little perspective I heard last week to hopefully drive home that point.  Ann Frank spent 761 days hiding from the Nazi’s in a small space where she had to be silent most of the time. With the technology we have in 2020 and the options still available to us, even during this state of emergency, like being able to go outside, there is no excuse for not following the rules now in place.

Employers, social distancing is mandatory.  Essential services (and you likely know who you are), you are to work through Dr. Strang’s office for guidance if you cannot follow these. Further to that, employers you must listen to your employees if they have concerns and you must work together to find solutions to keep the workplace safe.

I’ve received a lot of messages from people asking what an essential business is or questioning why we can’t just shut everything down. Please understand that it is the province not the town that determines what is essential and what is not.

The Province through Dr. Strang, with all the resources and experts they have at their disposal are making the decisions they feel are most appropriate each and every day.  We know the situation is changing all the time so we must allow them to do their job without us armchair quarterbacking things.

As I’ve said before, we are going to be in this for some time and we need to understand the impacts of decisions if weeks need to become months. It’s simply not that easy to say, “shut everything down for two weeks” and we need to trust Dr. Strang, his team and their guidance for what can remain open and what needs to close and when.

I’ve also received several messages with questions about going outside and what that means for them. 

Yes you can go for a drive.  Yes you can take the people who live in the same home as you for a drive.  We’ve all just needed to get out, maybe crank the tunes and belt out a song or two. We are however being asked not to drive to public spaces and then filling parking lots. Want to go to the trail? Please walk there.  Stay in your neighbourhood.

Just a reminder, you can’t go to the beach.  Every beach is now closed and seeing a bunch of cars parked a Crescent Beach today is exactly what the Premier said is not allowed.  This, is why we are frustrated.  This is why we are in a state of emergency.  You aren’t listening and your disregard since the state of emergency was put in place is putting entire communities at risk.  Time to do better.  While I said you can go for a drive, you are NOT to pick up friends or people not living in your home and take them with you.  I want to make sure that’s understood.  Collecting friends and piling into a car is not to take place nor is heading over with friends to hang out at someone’s house.

To families with more than five people, yes you are allowed to be together.  I don’t want to hear of people calling the police because they see a family of five or six in a van going for a drive.  A family that lives together is not considered a “social gathering” and so they can be together.  That said, I also don’t want to see families heading into stores as a group. Where possible designate one person to go shopping.  If you have young kids that cannot be left alone, please try and find someone to get groceries for you if you can.

Regarding the police, if you feel you need to contact them to report someone, it is NOT a 911 call.  Also, please ensure your information is fact based.  Again, people have been calling the police reporting families out for a walk or a drive. If you are unsure of their situation and you are comfortable, you may want to ask them before making any assumptions.  The police still need to take care the day to day of what happens in our community and we want to be mindful we aren’t overrunning them with calls when we aren’t sure of the situation. That doesn’t mean never call.  If are sure and need to report someone for a state of emergency violation, please use the non-emergency number posted online.  If you live outside Bridgewater please call the RCMP.

Our trails remain open and I know some are wondering why. In Bridgewater, our trails are an extension of our sidewalk system and many of those trails are in fact two or three times wider.  Dr. Strang has explained the importance of getting outside because again, we are in this for the long haul.  We expect people on the sidewalks and trails to practice social distancing  and are pleased to see that they are.  If people are not following the distancing protocols, then we will have to consider closure of the trails. If you have a yard you can enjoy, staying home becomes the perfect option but remember not everyone can do that.

Please understand that we are making decisions with all the information and resources at our disposal and that information is changing constantly. While some will disagree and of course you absolutely can, slamming decision makes at any level isn’t overly helpful at this time. I will say almost everyone is being respectful so thank you for that.

That’s the dad part of my talk for today and I want to thank everyone taking this seriously and doing their part.

Today the federal government announced additional flights to repatriate Canadians stuck aboard and I want to thank those who offered words of encouragement after I shared that my mother is still stuck in Portugal.  Wednesday is what she’s been told is her next option to leave and while this will be her fourth attempt, we are praying it is the one that actually leaves and she can return to her home in Ontario. If you are also waiting on family to get home, please know you’re not alone.

The federal government also announced an additional $5 billion dollars in lending for Canadian farmers and $192 million to work on vaccine development, testing and deployment. I’ve posted links to the top of my Facebook Page to the various programs and services being rolled out by the Federal and Provincial governments and would encourage you to look there for information from sources that have already been vetted.

In addition to the state of emergency from the province of Nova Scotia yesterday, today Dr. Strang announced that there were 13 additional cases of COVID-19, all related to travel or proximity to travellers. Cases will continue to increase but as I’ve said before, the measures in place will work if we do our part. Community spread has not yet appeared and again, if we all do our part we can minimize this when it does begin.

Locally I know there have been some questions about taxes.  I want you to know this is something we have and will continue to have on our council agenda as we look at all options available to us.  Tax bills go out at the end of April and are due at the end of May and so we do have some time to work with the province and our municipal colleagues on next steps.

  As I conclude, I want to take a moment and speak to the people who are worried, anxious and perhaps struggling with things these days.  That’s most of us.  Really and truly it is, and you need to know you are not alone.  It’s fine to feel those things so please, do not feel ashamed or as if this is somehow a sign of weakness.  I want you all to do me a favour.  Each day I want you to put your devices in airplane mode for a bit, take a step outside if you can and take a deep breath of fresh air.

Disconnect for a few moments each day. Maybe use that time to call someone on the phone or play a boardgame with the kids or your partner. Disconnect and take a moment to recharge yourself.

Parents, I know you’re worried for your kids.  I just want to say that you are doing a great job.  This is new for all of us.  There’s no handbook to follow for this situation so just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got this.  I know you do! I want to ask those in our community who know of people who have perhaps just become new parents to reach out to them and see how their doing.  On top of what we’re all going through, they will need your love and support more than ever.

We need to continue to lift each other up.  We need to remain united because we are so much stronger together.  Our local grocers continue to receive daily shipments and you’ve been awesome at checking on neighbours and friends to see if you can get things for them when you go out.  Keep that up you are really making a difference.

I also want to give a big shout-out to the people sharing ideas from other communities.  One of the great ideas that I’ve seen and would like to invite the people of Bridgewater to try, is the “one-way sidewalk.” What does that mean? Well, whenever you’re out walking and there are sidewalks on both sides of the street, I encourage you to try to walk in the same direction as the flow of traffic. This will keep pedestrians from crossing paths face-to-face and will help support social distancing protocols.

Additionally, for the trail that loops around the duck pond at Woodland Gardens, I invite people to walk clockwise around the pond to similarly encourage social distancing. We’ll soon have signs on site encouraging this practice too – it’s voluntary but it’s a small effort that you can make to help stifle the spread of COVID-19.

I want to thank those working and volunteering to ensure our vital programs and services are still running. I know it’s not an easy time to get up and head to work or to help but please know that our community thanks you very much.  I will continue to post daily and to do my best to answer your questions and I continue to be so appreciative of the love and support of my family and this community. Stay healthy and God bless.

>>>>>

March 22, 2020

UPDATE AT 3PM: PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PARKS IN NOVA SCOTIA ARE CLOSED. PROVINCIAL AND TOWN TRAILS REMAIN OPEN. THE TRAILS THAT RUN WITHIN TOWN PARKS PARKS ALSO REMAIN OPEN.

Due to vital information from the province today, I am posting to ensure everyone has access to the new changes that are now in place.

**Nova Scotia is now under a State of Emergency.**

In the Provincial section below, you will see details of what this means. These are the measures now needed to ensure the safety of our people. We all need to do our part and most of you have. The State of Emergency now gives the police the tools to fine those who are not adhering to Dr. Strang’s directives.

I want to stress that this does not mean you can’t go outside. If you are not showing any symptoms you can get out and get some air. Please try to remain in your neighbourhood though – take a walk around the block, or enjoy your back yard. The Premier noted that large groups have been piling into cars, heading to the beach, parking next to dozens of other cars and that is not social distancing and so we have now been asked to avoid that altogether. Instead (if you are symptom free), walk around the block, ride around your neighbourhood and enjoy your yard. If you are showing symptoms, you must remain inside your home.

Parents, I know it is a challenge to relay the message of social distancing to our kids. We were all young once and felt like we were immortal but the State of Emergency applies to every Nova Scotian and so this must be a discussion you have with your whole family. I know it’s hard, but please know you’re not alone in facing this challenge. We’re with you!

Please see the links shared at the top of the Mayor David Mitchell Facebook page, for additional information and resources. Please note that the “community resources” link closer to the bottom will take you to another long list of resources that may be helpful.

Finally, this doesn’t mean panic. It doesn’t mean rush to the store and panic buy. Goods are still moving across the Nova Scotia and Canadian borders. Our local stores continue to receive product so I implore you to please think of others and remember that we all need the same things. You’ve been awesome in respecting this and know you will continue to be.


Federal Update:

  • There was no new information from the PM today

Provincial Update (Premier McNeil, Dr. Strang, Minister Porter and Minister Furey)

  • Provincial State of Emergency has been declared
  • only groups of 5 or less are permitted (social distancing is still required)
  • Provincial parks/ beaches are now closed. The Premier advised that people not obeying are considered to be trespassing, and vehicles will be towed.
  • You can get groceries and go to the pharmacy if you need to, but designate one person in your home to do that. Please
    refrain from taking someone else with you when at all possible. Continue to ask friends and neighbours if you can
    get things for them as well to reduce the number of people out in stores.
  • You can still take a walk but stay in your neighbourhoods to do so - social distancing must be followed. As Dr. Strang
    indicated, “now is not the time to pile into a car and head out and park next to 100 other cars at the beach. Walk around
    your own community”.
  • If you are returning to Nova Scotia (regardless of your mode of transport or from where you are returning), you must self
    isolate for 14 days, but can enjoy the outdoors around your home (maintaining the 6 feet). BUT if you fall in to this
    category and are showing any symptoms you are NOT to leave your home at all.
  • Effective Monday, the Nova Scotia borders will be restricted but essential services and transport are exempt from these
    border restrictions
  • These directives must be adhered to. Police services across the province will be enforcing social-distancing and self-
    isolation protocols. People not adhering to Dr. Strang’s directives for social distancing and self-isolation will face a
    $1000 fine for each violation. For businesses, $7500 for each instance for each day. Arrest is possible.
  • In order that our police services are not overwhelmed, if you see someone you think is violating the self-isolation
    protocols, if you are comfortable perhaps ask them if they were aware of the rules. Do not assume their circumstances!
    Please follow this step before calling police in your own jurisdiction. This is NOT a 911 call.
  • There are seven new cases in Nova Scotia, taking the total to 28 presumptive or confirmed. They are all travel related or
    are from direct exposure to people who traveled. Though community spread is anticipated at some point, we are not
    there yet. It is through this State of Emergency that we hope to slow that down. Please do your part.
  • QEII in Halifax is now able to confirm positive cases, speeding up the process (versus sending tests out of province).
  • There are jurisdictions around the globe that are now seeing success in reducing cases from applying measures like
    these. But we are further ahead of this and can remain so IF WE ALL DO OUR PART!

Local Update:

  • REVISED UPDATE: ALL parks within the province have now been mandated to close. This includes all Bridgewater parks. Trails remain open.
  • Playgrounds and the Skate Park are Closed until further notice.

This is new to us all but we’re in it together. Continue to be there for each other. I would like to challenge each of you to pick one person from church or at work and give them a call today, just to say hello and see how they are doing.

Stay strong. We got this!

>>>>>

March 21, 2020

I’m certainly happy to see the sun shining today and I hope you are too! It feels great to be out in the yard!

After this update, I will be posting (and pinning to the top of this Facebook Page) a long list of links and resources that I hope will assist any of us in finding the supports needed. (A huge thanks to those who surprised me by helped to gather this info!) Please note it won't be an exhaustive list and it is subject to change, but it’s a start.

Please remember to be patient at the stores and parcel pickup. These are long and stressful days for us all and we need to be as encouraging as possible to the person stocking the shelf or loading your car, not angry with them for shortages that are not their fault. The panic-buy situation continues to be an issue but it’s getting better so that’s good to hear. Items are still available in reduced numbers. Trucks continue to arrive daily at most of our local grocers.

I also thought it might be helpful to post a recipe each day. I love to cook and I know with no dine-in options available during this time and limited quantities of some of the items we have in our regular meal rotation, it can be helpful to have new ideas for suppertime. Please understand I don’t have an inventory of what’s available at all the stores (or in your homes) so you may have to substitute ingredients or try something different. We have some salmon in our freezer so this will be in our rotation soon.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/51283/maple-salmon/

I’ve made this one a few times and it was great in the oven or on the bbq!


Federal Update

  • Closing non-essential travel to communities in Northern Canada
  • Canadians still overseas will be receiving contact from the federal government in order to assist them with their needs, including the continued effort to get them home.
  • Additional commercial flights to get Canadians home are being dispatched.
  • All Canadians overseas should register with Global Affairs Canada (travel.gc.ca)


Provincial Update

  • Six new cases in NS bringing the total to 21 presumptive or confirmed.


Local Update

  • Michelin North America has announced a phased suspension of manufacturing. This will exclude “vital and critical tires for the country’s economic continuity”. It’s important to remember that pretty much everything we need, at one point or another gets moved on something with tires. I’m not able to share details on specifics related to who our plant provides products for, but this announcement does impact all plants in Nova Scotia in some way.
  • Starting today, the Lunenburg County Recycling Centre will be temporarily closed on Saturdays to limit public contact in relation to the Coronavirus. The site and administrative office will remain open Monday to Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.


One more thing… Since I was elected, I have tried hard to keep Sunday as the day just for church and family, so I generally don’t post anything on that day. Of course, if I hear of anything that needs to be shared urgently, I will do so, but I am going to try not to check messages for this one day and I appreciate your understanding.

On that note, if you are feeling like you might want some added encouragement, our family will be watching the live stream at Bridgewater Baptist, and it looks like other churches in the area are getting set up as well so there are lots of options out there.

Don’t forget to check in with family, friends and neighbours. Somebody you know would probably love to hear your voice!

>>>>>

March 20, 2020

It’s the first day of Spring and how thankful are you that the cold days are likely behind us for the season!?

I have not had a chance to do so yet, but over the weekend I plan to gather as many links as possible to provincial and federal information and programs. I will post them to this page to make it easy for you to find as it will be a “pinned post” to appear at the top of my Facebook page. It will be a fluid post that will be updated as new information arrives. I ask for your patience and understanding as I’ll no doubt miss a few details as I’m juggling a lot of things during this time. I will try to include financial institutions too, as I know many are concerned about mortgages and other payments as well.

I know there is a lot of information flying around out there, so I’m going to try to update you regularly and succinctly with the key updates from all three levels of government.

LOCALLY

In addition to being on a reduced schedule (visit bridgewater.ca for details), Bridgewater Transit is now free to further reduce the interaction between drivers and passengers. We continue to have protocols in place for physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning of the bus. With the situation changing daily, those relying on the service should keep an eye out for updates regarding hours and if the service needs to be halted at some point. There are still people who need to get places, so our transit system at this time will continue to operate.

I know a number of residents and businesses have been asking about property taxes. Tax bills don’t go out until the end of April (due at the end of May). Right now, our efforts are on things requiring immediate action. Council and staff will be discussing scenarios and options regarding taxes over the coming weeks as we move deeper into the situation. I will keep you updated as things progress.

FEDERALLY

Today the Prime Minster gave a short update with the following announcements:

  • Government is working with airlines to get stranded Canadians home, where possible.
  • Increased border restrictions take effect at midnight tonight, but trade will continue to flow.
  • Government has initialized a plan to mobilize industry and begin producing masks, gloves, tests and other materials. This includes retooling of auto parts manufacturers to begin fabrication of medical supplies.

PROVINCIALLY

Here in Nova Scotia, one additional presumptive case has been announced and this one is also travel related. In our province, of the people going through the online screening and then on to 811 and then on to physical testing, around 1% are coming back as presumed or confirmed positive. We have been told to expect the number of cases to rise but what we are now doing is helping, so keep it up!

The Premier, the Minister of Business and Dr. Strang updated with the following:

  • Rapid response team in place to support business in Nova Scotia
  • $161 million dollars to address cash-flow concerns for small and medium sized businesses in the province
  • Deferment of loan payments and interest to the Jobs Fund, Municipal Finance Corp and Housing Nova Scotia
  • Business related fees are being waved and the province will post a list of those fees soon
  • Workers compensation fees will be deferred.
  • Loan payments under the small business loan guarantee program administered through the Nova Scotia Credit Unions will also be deferred until June 30th
  • That program will also be enhanced to make it easier for small business to access credit, up to $500,000 for those who might not otherwise qualify. The government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • $15 million dollars has been put in place to speed the deployment of projects to expand rural internet to help those working from home and those needing to access e-health services. This is in addition to monies already in place.
  • The Minister of Business spoke to Michelin (our local manager who is also President of Canadian Operations) and they discussed Michelin operations. Similar to what I have stated in the last few days, the Minister confirmed they are meeting or exceeding the protocols put in place by the chief medial officer.
  • Student loans will be suspended for six months
  • Additional measures will likely follow in the coming days
  • We are under a public health order, not a state of emergency at this time.

MY THOUGHTS:

I have included a summary graphic of the key things to remember, feel free to share with others. In addition to those points, I’d like to remind everyone of a few important things:

  • Obviously, if you don’t need to shop, please don’t. There continues to be no need to panic-buy.
  • If you can, designate one person in your home to do the grocery/pharmacy shopping.
  • Do Not flush wipes or paper towel down the toilet. Other municipalities are reporting pipes are being clogged from these and we are all trying to reduce the need to have plumbers or crews out in homes. People can’t self-isolate if workers need to keep making service calls.
  • Do not call people out for behaviour without knowing all the circumstances. The person with a small shopping cart full of food may be filling a completely empty fridge at home, and may even be shopping for other families who are in self-isolation. Beyond that, please stop saying “nobody is self-isolating” as this is obviously not the case. Most in fact ARE and saying they are not is contributing unnecessarily to people’s fears and anxiety. Please be mindful of your comments.
  • Not every business is non-essential. I’ve learned quite a lot about some of our local businesses that have to supply and service military, emergency, transport, financial sector and other services (directly or indirectly) that are needed at this time. This by extension, makes it important for them to maintain operation as long as possible. As I’ve asked people not to ‘out’ others, I am also asking that we not ‘shame’ businesses. It isn’t productive and in fact is a waste of much needed time and energy. Please redirect that energy into reconnecting (virtually) with others instead. If you have concerns with your workplace, please speak to your manager or supervisor. They in turn must be willing to listen to your concerns and there are protections in place for workers in this situation. The Nova Scotia Labour Board has a “contact us” form you can use IF your employer will not address your concerns. Facebook is not the labour board.
  • Trust -- I know that’s not always easy, but I am asking us to trust. Trust Dr. Strang, the Premier and the experts who are working tirelessly and sacrificially to do everything they can. Things are working in Nova Scotia and if we all just keep doing our own part, we will be great. Every province is doing what they feel is best for their citizens. A state of emergency is declared when the Minister responsible determines that members of the public aren’t acting in the best interest of the greater good and corrective measures are needed to address the situation. Right now, the vast majority of people are following the protocols in place. That doesn’t mean one won’t be called in our province, but the Premier has been clear as to why he feels that isn’t necessary at this time and so again, I ask that we trust he has all the information to make the right call. He and Dr. Strang are closer to this than anyone else.

It’s Friday and we are all about to enter what will no doubt be a very different weekend. Saturday looks like a decent day weather-wise with temperatures trying to get toward double digits. Go for a walk. Head to the beach or a trail and take a deep breath. We need to be in this for the long haul and getting outside really does help.

Parents, I know you are all putting on a brave face for your children. You’re not alone. What to do during a pandemic wasn’t in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but you’re doing great! It’s ok to be worried. We have three kids at home and we’re concerned too. But it’s healthy to shut off the devices and ignore the news for a good chunk of the day. After you go for that walk, play a game, bake muffins, do a puzzle – spend time enjoying your family.

Seniors, I know you are grateful to see so many of our local businesses changing their hours to protect your health. I want to thank them for quickly taking those measures and thank you for continuing to be understanding with front-line staff keeping our stores stocked. I’ve spoken to pet owners concerned about their four-legged family members. Remember to get those that like the outdoors out for a walk. Pets are a great distraction from all this so keep loving them like you do.

To couples and those perhaps living by yourself…you are not alone. We are a community and please, if you need someone to talk to, pick up the phone and call an old friend, family or a neighbour. If all of us reached out to someone we think might be isolated or lonely, it will have a tremendous positive impact on the whole region, and on you too! I like how the Premier phrased it; “Contact of Kindness”.

Thank you all for doing your part. This has been quite a week, and each day has brought something new but I know we are already rising to the challenge. I’m proud of you!

Be kind. Be loving and patient with each other. Be there for each other and know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It may be a long one but it will come.

>>>>>

March 19, 2020

Here’s a few updates for today. I was going to start with “this is a short one” but I think those days are gone. 😊

Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for your words of encouragement. It truly means a lot. These are trying times for everyone and I would ask that you encourage each other, continue to reach out to friends and neighbours to virtually say hello. Call someone you haven’t talked to for awhile and reconnect. Rekindle that friendship from years ago.

I know many are anxious and it’s ok to be. It’s ok to be worried and unsure. I want to make sure everyone understands that. It is ok to feel the way you feel. On a personal note, I have a parent in Portugal still trying to get home after two cancelled attempts. If you have family trying to get home, know that you’re not alone and we are all praying for their safe return.

I continue to be in contact with our local grocers and they are confident in their supply chains. Transport is running, stores are restocking, infrastructure and services are operating and all levels of government are working hard to ensure Canadians have access to funds, are able to pay or defer their bills and take care of each other. New information is coming daily but I hope in the coming days to post links to as many of the sites as possible for service/program information to make it easier for you to find it.

I am going to post daily but I am waiting until after the PM and Premier have updates so I can share those with you as well. Those are mid/late afternoon so my posts will generally be later afternoon.

A couple more things.

There have been a few posts going around on social media that are disturbing. One in particular was when a Facebook page was trolled, an old photo of a couple on vacation copied and used to publicly shame them for shopping right after coming back from a trip…a trip they took in 2019 NOT 2020. Shaming people and business is not what we need, especially right now. Spreading false and misleading information is damaging, not just to the person/business you are talking about but to yourself and your credibility. We need to unite, not divide our community. Dr. Strang spoke at length about the negative impact that type of behaviour has on everyone, so please, stop!

I’ve spoken to both Michelin and Millenium1Solutions management at length (and will continue to) and I’m confident in the measures they have in place. Both are either meeting or exceeding the protocols set by the Chief Medical Officer. I know there is a lot of concern about our large employers and their staff. I would ask that if you work for one of them and have questions, you speak to your manager. Social media isn’t the place to put it. The provincial and federal government have protections in place for workers and employees should be aware of those and discussing any concerns they have with their employer. Employers, you must be willing and able to have those conversations. If there are updates to share coming from businesses, I will do so but please understand, I am not able to speak “for” them. They have the right to speak on their own behalf and must be allowed to do so. This is a constantly changing situation and as things change, so will the directives given to business, as has already been demonstrated by the province.

In terms of COVID-19 itself, today we learned we are up to 14 presumed or confirmed cases in Nova Scotia. We know that numbers are going to continue to rise as people return home, but I thought I would add a little perspective.

By March 16th, Canada had tested 34,000 people. The US, with ten times our population had tested 23,000 people. As of yesterday, there were just over 700 cases in Canada and over 7500 in the US.

As of today, in Nova Scotia, 1387 people have been tested and 1373 were negative. What we are doing in Canada and in Nova Scotia in particular, is working. If we all do our part, it will continue to work. We know the virus will spread and the numbers will rise. There is no debating that. We know it will be in all our communities soon enough, but if we act as if we all have it and don’t want to spread it, we can work to keep those numbers down.

To that end, you’re going to see me repeat these points daily.

  • If you are returning home from outside Canada, you WILL self-isolate. This is not maybe and there is no “but I feel fine,
    so it doesn’t apply to me”. Contact someone who can bring you the supplies you need but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES
    are you to return to work, go shopping or have people over for coffee (or go to someone else’s house).
  • Self-isolation doesn’t mean you can’t be outside in the fresh air. You can go to the beach or go for a walk (ONLY IF you
    are not showing symptoms) and can ensure social distancing.
  • If you are showing symptoms, remain home.
  • Stay home whenever you can. Limit the trips to the store and see if anyone else needs something if you do have to go.
    The fewer people out the lower the risk to everyone.
  • Be kind and understanding. Hearing stories of people being rude in the drive-through or in line at a store is disheartening.
    Don’t be that person!
  • The Google Map showing cases online continues to be false and misleading and Google has been advised.
  • Good practice is to use social distancing at all times!

Today's update from the Premier and Dr. Strang

  • Two new cases in NS, both are travel related. All regions of the province have presumed cases except the northern region.
    We will not be given locations or numbers of cases in regions unless by Dr. Strang.
  • The province is providing $1 million dollars to Feed NS to ensure they can help all in need.
  • $2.2 million dollars will be added to support the income assistance program. This is automatic and if you are a current
    client of this program, you do not need to apply and it does not require repayment. 40,000 people rely on this program.
  • $230,000 added to senior safety programs
  • Effective today, NO tenant whose income is affected by COVID-19 can be evicted.
  • People can go outside, cycle and walk but playgrounds are not ideal options at this time.
  • Public health monitors daily those who are confirmed cases.
  • All cases have been travel related or someone who was in close proximity to someone who had travelled.
  • Do not walk into the testing sites. There is a screening tool online, until I have links up, you can search online on the NS
    Government website and it will take you there. Screen online first, then call 811 if warranted, then proceed to the testing site if you are asked to do so.

There is still so much to be grateful for. I’m grateful for our health care system and workers, for our cashiers and service staff still working to stock the shelves, clean the stores, sell various goods and those working to provide take-out meals. I'm thankful for the transport and logistics workers making sure things continue to get delivered, for the countless volunteers and people offering to help wherever they can. I appreciate our staff team at the Town and the crews still out ensuring everything is still operating as normal. I’m so grateful to our incredible first responders. I’m also thrilled that spring arrives tomorrow and the warmer weather will soon be upon us. So many countries were impacted by COVID-19 in the cold winter months. I’m grateful it’s easier for the kids to be out in the fresh air and to be out in the sunshine this time of year. I’m grateful for the people who live and work here.

You are amazing and I am proud to be the Mayor of this incredible community!

Stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands, practice social distancing and take care of each other!

>>>>>

March 18, 2020

This is a bit longer today.

As you know, I work hard to keep our community informed. This is more important now than ever before. I also feel it’s important to try and address your questions and concerns, but I need there to be some understanding and some patience.

  • I am doing the best I can during a difficult situation. It may take longer to answer your questions and I am only replying with fact-based answers. I am asking again that people not speculate, guess or accuse others.
  • The province is leading the COVID-19 strategy in Nova Scotia and at this time, we are taking their lead and direction as well as that of the federal government. Restrictions on business operations will be dictated by the premier and the chief medical officer. I want to repeat that. It is under the direction of the premier and Dr. Strang that protocols and policies will be enacted for business.
  • Every business must follow those directives just as every person must, but as Dr. Strang said yesterday, now is not the time to be calling people out but the time to come together as community.
  • If you are returning from out of country you must stay home, regardless of how you feel. There is no “but I feel fine” to consider. You must and you will stay home. Businesses must also respect this and CANNOT force anyone to work who is returning from outside Canada.
  • I will remind people that Dr. Strang is no longer releasing the locations of new presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19 so the Google Map that continues to appear is false, misleading and Google will again be asked to remove it.
  • There is no coverup or hidden agenda. Suggesting that Dr. Strang or myself are somehow trying to hide some conspiracy is 100% false. We all should have more important things to do than try to cut people down or try and create mistrust among those trying to help.
  • Five new presumptive cases were announced today in Nova Scotia bringing the total presumptive and confirmed to twelve.
  • Perspective~ Canada has tested 34,000 people (as of March 16), the US, 23,000 people with 10 times our population. As of today, there are just over 700 cases in Canada, over 7500 in the US. We have tested more people and have returned fewer cases. What we are doing is working BUT we need to keep being diligent.
  • What I want to avoid is having to lock down commenting or delete comments because I think it is really important for people to be able to comment. Please Be Respectful!

My efforts simply cannot be spent shooting down rumour and chasing down false information. It is up to every single one of us to do our part. Please understand that at this time, things are busy and stressful for everyone and we are doing our best. Keeping essential services running, ensuring you have the most up to date information in an ever-changing landscape, all while managing my family, work at my day job, council and community means that every minute is precious and I am asking that you please respect and understand that before you comment. As I said, I will do my utmost to address your questions and concerns but when I have done so, please know that I cannot engage in a back and forth debate. There is simply too much happening and it's changing constantly. I respect that you may not like that answer but I hope you understand why it is what it is.

Today the Prime Minister addressed the nation with the following new measures being put in place. I would ask that if you require further details on any of these, you refer to the various federal government websites providing more detailed information.

  • The Canada-US border is now closed to everything but trade and essential travel.
  • $82 billion dollars of support has been put in place by the Canadian government.
  • The emergency care benefit has been created by the federal government for workers who don’t qualify for EI or don’t have access to paid sick leave but need to stay home and will pay them every two weeks for 14 weeks and is comparable to the benefit paid through EI. This also applies to a family member looking after another with COVID-19
  • If you lose your job and do not quality for EI, the government will also introduce a COVID-19 support benefit to help. This will apply to those who are self-employed.
  • Small business employers will receive a temporary wage subsidy equal to 10% of salary paid to employees for three months to encourage employers to keep employees on the payroll.
  • Farmers and food producers will see a farm credit Canada boost.
  • Those who file their taxes (June now) and need to pay, that payment will not be required until August 2020.
  • For parents, extra measures will be put in place to boost the Canada Child Benefit.
  • For lower income people and families, in May, the GST credit will be increased for those who are eligible.
  • Canada student loans will now have a 6-month interest free moratorium.
  • Funding is being boosted for services and programs that help people who are fleeing domestic or gender-based violence.
  • The supply chain remains in tact and there continues to be no need to panic purchase.

Continue to be there for one another. Continue to reach out to friends, family and neighbours. Together we will get through this.

>>>>>

March 17, 2020

Good afternoon. I wanted to update the community on further directives from the province of Nova Scotia regarding COVID-19. As you are aware, this is a constantly evolving situation and so new information is likely to come daily.

There are two new presumptive cases in the province. One is from out of country travel and one is related to the cases announced yesterday. Currently there are NO presumptive or confirmed cases in the Town of Bridgewater. I want to make that clear. At this time, there are no cases here in our town. There is a map circulating from Google that is NOT factually correct. I have reported this to Google and the province to have them ensure only valid information is being populated there. It is ONLY Dr. Strang and his office that will be announcing cases. Not Facebook and not Google. Going forward, Dr. Strang has stated the region impacted by cases won't be named. This is to (rightfully) protect the individual and remember that person is self-isolating. If we all just do our part, the risk is greatly minimized.

Please please please stick to vetted information from the province or the town.

Having no local cases doesn’t change our need to be vigilant. Therefore the province has directed the following:

  • Effective today, no gatherings of over 50 people are permitted.
  • As of Thursday March 19, ALL restaurants will move to take-out only and all drinking establishments are to close.
  • The NSLC will be changing its hours as of today. 10-11 will be for seniors and those with mobility issues and 11-7 Monday-Saturday they will be open to all other customer and they will be closed on Sunday.
  • Effective Wednesday Access NS will be closed for one week as they establish a system to best serve the community going forward. Online systems are still operational as normal.
  • All drivers licences and vehicle permits that are to expire in March, April or May will now be valid until the end of August.

Our thoughts go out to all the businesses and employees impacted by these new directives. We need to support those people during this uncertain time.

What these changes don’t mean is that people need to panic. It also doesn’t mean that you need to rush out to the store and panic purchase. If you don’t need to go out, please don’t. If you need something at the store, see if someone else needs something too and then head out but again, everyone in our community is in the same situation and with the Canadian supply chain very much intact, there is no need to hoard items. Have your essentials, be prepared but be respectful of the fact we all need the same things. Grocery stores continue to get daily shipments.

Finally I want to thank you all for following the directives being given. As I looked out the window of town hall today, I saw a quiet town. People are listening. Thank you!
Support one another. Be there for friends, family and neighbours. We are an amazing community. #WeAreBridgewater

>>>>>

March 16, 2020



>>>>>

March 15, 2020

**UPDATED:

Please note that new directives are now in place by the province and begin with immediate effect.

ALL people returning from outside Canada WILL self-isolate for 14-days. There are no exceptions to this. This is for the public and the private sector. I cannot stress this enough. This is for everyone returning to Canada.

All schools will remain closed for two weeks after March Break. NSCC is suspending classes from March 23 – April 3 to prepare for alternative forms of learning, such as online. Daycares will close beginning Tuesday to allow parents a chance to find alternative care but will remain closed similarly to schools. All March Break camps are now cancelled. All visitation to long-term care facilities has ceased indefinitely. Both Casinos and all VLTs are to shut down at midnight tonight.

I will be addressing the community in more detail tomorrow but remember, life goes on.

There’s no need to panic buy at the store. The Canadian food supply chain is strong and moving. Yes you can go to a restaurant, who are all now required to set up for social distancing. Yes you can see a movie or go to a pub or craft brewery who again, are required to set up tables and seats for social distancing. You can still shop, especially local and our small business owners have already said they are stepping up cleaning procedures. These measures are all in place for a reason but limiting unnecessary trips in the public is advised.

Remember your friends, family and neighbours. Be considerate and compassionate and help flatten the curve.

>>>>>

March 13, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ALL staff and students, as well as children in daycare returning from ANY out of country travel, must self-isolate for 14 days. Parents, please plan accordingly. We understand this will be difficult for many, but together we can “flatten the curve” and ensure the best possible health of our community. If we each do our part we can lessen the impact and reduce the risk to our friends, neighbours and loved ones. Be smart, remain diligent and please think not only of yourself but of those around you.

Please read the statement below from the Premier.

PREMIER'S OFFICE/HEALTH/WELLNESS--New Travel Measures for Nova Scotia Public Sector Employees
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Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return. Government introduced the travel protocols today, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

Health-care workers, teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees who travel anywhere outside Canada will have to stay at home/self-isolate away from the public for 14 days after returning to the country. These measures also apply to students of Nova Scotia public schools and children in regulated child care centres who have travelled with their families, even if their parents or caregivers are not public sector employees.

"While we are fortunate to have no cases of COVID-19 in the province, we expect to see cases here very soon," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "We all need to do our part to reduce the spread, protect our most vulnerable and keep Nova Scotians healthy and safe."

The private sector is encouraged to take the same approach and support employees to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling outside Canada.

The chief medical officer of health is also encouraging individuals, employers and community organizations to limit social gatherings to no more than 150 people to limit spread. This could include events like weddings, church services, movie theatres and concerts. This measure will help protect vulnerable Nova Scotians who are at greatest risk and will be reassessed as the situation evolves.

The province is also working with the federal government to delay the start of the cruise ship season.

Nova Scotians should think about additional measures they can take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as:
-- avoiding close contact with others (keeping at least two metres or roughly six feet apart)
-- avoiding crowds and gatherings like parties and other group activities
-- staying home if ill, especially if you have a fever and or a new cough

Nova Scotians can find the most accurate, up-to-date information, including what to do if you are feeling unwell, at novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

Quick Facts:
-- Nova Scotia has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 13 with 226 negative tests completed
-- travel advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada says anyone who travels to Hubei province in China, Iran or Italy must self-isolate for 14 days upon return to Canada
-- Nova Scotia's Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
-- the EMO Provincial Coordination Centre is activating at the monitoring level to help track the situation locally and globally and provide planning support and information to municipal partners and others
-- the 811 system is screening for COVID-19; there is also a self-assessment tool available on the 811 website.

>>>>>

March 12, 2020

As March Break approaches and many from our community will be traveling, I am asking that people remain diligent at all times. Wash your hands frequently, be aware of those around you and your proximity to them.

If you are traveling internationally, please be mindful of how you feel and knowledgeable of COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel unwell, please call 811 FIRST and they will direct you as to next steps. Do not go to the hospital for COVID-19 related symptoms.

Regardless, we ask that you avoid visiting facilities where there could be people with compromised immune systems for 14 days after arriving home.

We continue to monitor the situation in the maritimes and work with the NSHA and the province to ensure our community is prepared.

The best way to stop the spread of the virus is by each of us doing our part. We don’t need to panic anymore than we need to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper. Just be smart!