Sarnia has banned all open burning including backyard campfires, fire pits and the burning of grass and other debris until further notice.
The move is needed to limit the exposure of fire staff to the COVID-19 virus. In the event of a fire call out, firefighters would exceed the provincially mandated limit of five people gathering, City Hall said Saturday.
“While I understand the frustration that some members of the community feel with what appears to be further restrictions on their activities by government” Fire Chief Brian Arnold said, “I can assure you that we would not be asking our community members to make these short-term sacrifices if we did not believe that these temporary measures are absolutely necessary for the protection of our first responders and our community during these trying times.”
The city said the new emergency order applies only to things that produce sparks, and does not apply to natural gas or propane appliances, such as outdoor barbecues and heaters.
Meanwhile, Sarnia Transit is adjusting some routes as of Monday, April 6 in response to a decline in ridership and staffing shortages.
It is also limiting the total number of passengers permitted on each bus, at one time, to ensure social distancing. Once the limit is reached the driver will bypass stops. Riders should be prepared to have to wait for the next scheduled bus, the city said.
Though Sarnia Transit is the only means of travel for many residents, they are encouraged to take the bus only for essential trips such as jobs, medical appointments and groceries, the city said.
Meanwhile, Ontario also closed all seasonal trailer parks and recreational campgrounds, as of Friday.