Originally published by the communications team at the Town of Lincoln
On the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Lincoln joins the Niagara community and the entire world in reflecting on a difficult year that has passed – remembering the residents in Lincoln and Niagara who have lost their lives and acknowledging the challenges we have overcome, and continue to confront as a community as the pandemic unfolds.
“We have been through a lot as a community over the past year. Together we are mourning the many families from across Niagara Region who have lost loved ones and acknowledging the toll this pandemic has taken on individuals and families,” said Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton. “A year into the pandemic, we can start to see brighter days ahead – with many lessons learned, a community that has come together like never before, and a vaccination plan underway.”
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, the Town of Lincoln dedicated resources to the COVID-19 pandemic response, and to help residents and businesses cope and remain resilient due to financial challenges.
“I would like to thank Town staff for their tremendous efforts over the past year. They have taken on added responsibility and continued to prioritize supporting our community to get through the pandemic,” said the Town’s CAO Michael Kirkopoulos. “It has been remarkable to see how our community has responded, pivoted and looked out for each other as we’ve all dealt with the effects of the pandemic in our own ways.”
Below are some of the main initiatives and actions the Town has taken to support the community through over the past year:
Closed, restricted and adapted Town facilities to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- During the first shutdown, the Town took followed public health guidelines by pausing programming and closing municipal facilities. As restrictions slowly were lifted during the summer, programming and facilities began to reopen while still adhering to strict public health guidelines.
- When faced with the second shutdown and stay at home orders during the new year, programs were once again restricted, and facilities were closed as many staff worked and continue to work from home to help stop the spread.
- Facilities have been outfitted with protective and proactive elements (i.e. signage, sneeze guards and ground markings) and provided digital service delivery to support social distancing and following all public health guidelines;
- With all these closures, restrictions and adaptations, staff have continued to deliver essential services for our business and residential community.
Deployed an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Recovery Taskforce:
- Activated on March 11, 2020, the EOC and Recovery Taskforce was deployed to meet regularly to ensure a smooth and efficient recovery, guided by research, advocacy, and resilience.
- In total, the EOC has been activated for 365 days and has met a total of 56 times, while the Recovery Taskforce has met 21 times.
Supported the community and provided outreach to our most vulnerable populations:
- Similar to many other municipalities in the province, Council approved the waiving of penalties and interest on property taxes and water utility accounts due in spring 2020, in order to provide some financial relief and flexibility to residents and businesses. For specific inquiries or concerns about accounts, residents and businesses can contact [email protected].
- In the spring of 2020, Town staff supported our more vulnerable populations by reaching out to seniors across the community to lend assistance where needed.
Shared accurate and timely local information relating to the pandemic:
- Ongoing communication and public education through social media and media releases have been a major component of the Town’s emergency response to COVID-19.
- The Town posted more than 130 social media posts on the Town’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, in addition to sharing content from Niagara Region Public Health, the Province of Ontario and several other community groups/agencies, to ensure the community is up-to-date on facility and service delivery impacts, public health directives, and other relevant information.
- The Town issued 28 media releases related to COVID-19.
- Since March 2020, the Town’s coronavirus landing page has seen a total of 27,107 page views, making it the third most frequently visited page on the Town’s website (after the home page and Careers page).
Continued healthy investment in our community:
- In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 the Town saw a healthy level of private sector investment totaling over $103 Million in construction value.
- The Town will continue to attract private sector investment across our residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural community.
Supported broadband infrastructure and investment to promote town-wide high-speed internet:
- Town of Lincoln staff have advocated on the Town’s behalf of how important adequate broadband access has become to sustain economic and social activity.
- To date, the Town has supported five projects/applications to implement projects and infrastructure that improve broadband coverage across the Town.
Promoted shop local campaigns and supported our business community through ShopLincoln.ca:
- ShopLincoln.ca was developed at the onset of the pandemic and to encourage the community to support local. It will continue as a legacy site to drive shoppers to support the local business community. Since the release of ShopLincoln.ca on May 5, 2020, the website has seen close to 50,000 page views and over 22,000 unique users.
- The Your Hometown Holiday Campaign saw 6,038 Visitors -7,744 Views -1,464 Conversions (24%) on the ShopLincoln.ca Your Hometown Holiday Landing Page
- We are currently hosting our virtual Winter [email protected] Campaign to support our local craft beverages and restaurant businesses.
Supported our restaurants through temporary patio extensions:
- As we saw many restaurants cease/restrict indoor seating capacity, the Town expedited temporary patio extensions for our hospitality sector. The Town will continue to offer the expedited extensions throughout 2021.
Distributed weekly e-newsletters to keep our business and tourism industry informed:
- From the onset and throughout the pandemic, Town staff made a commitment to keep our business community up-to-date with the latest guidelines, restrictions and funding opportunities expressed from all levels of Government. Since May 1, 2020 we have distributed 38 e-newsletters to our business community in this effort.
- If you are a business owner interested in receiving the ongoing emails from our economic development staff, please contact Paul Di Ianni at [email protected].
The Town of Lincoln will continue to support pandemic recovery efforts throughout 2021 to help offset the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.