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Work week reduced, staff redeployed as Richmond Hill grapples with financial impact of COVID-19

Access Richmond Hill now available 7 days per week
May 11, 2020
Shelia Wang

Richmond Hill’s administrative staff has moved to a four-day work week, Monday to Thursday, in an effort to alleviate the financial pressure brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Interim city manager Mary-Anne Dempster made the statement on May 1 to update the impact on the city’s workforce, less than a month after Richmond Hill laid off more than 1,000 part-time and contract staff due to facility closures.

All city parks are closed to the public until May 31 to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The closed parks includes playgrounds, off-leash dog parks, sports fields, public benches, skate parks and tennis courses.

In the statement, Dempster said the city has done "the right thing" over the past two months by closing facilities, cancelling programs and providing tax relief measures to people facing challenges due to the crisis.

"However, the reality is they come with a cost and have put the city in a tough financial situation," she said.

"The decisions are not made lightly," Dempster said. "It is not easy, but it is the responsible path to take to help mitigate the longer-term impact of COVID-19."

The work week reduction doesn’t apply to fire and emergency services, bylaw enforcement and public works operations, the statement noted.

In addition, 60 workers in non-essential functions have been temporarily redeployed to service areas in need of additional support, such as parks maintenance, since May 4, it added.

The interim city manager noted in the statement that the city continues "to be here for you" and will continue to maintain essential services.

Access Richmond Hill is now available to handle inquiries at or by phone at 905-771-8800 seven days a week, as of May 4.