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'It is starting to feel like it’s not an emergency': Newmarket considers lifting pandemic declaration
July 29, 2021

The Town of Newmarket is considering lifting its pandemic-based local state of emergency.

The municipality originally declared a state of emergency March 18, 2020 as the pandemic began to spur the public to action. But municipalities are beginning to lift these declarations as reopening carries on, with the Town of Aurora announcing it would terminate its state of emergency July 27.

Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said the town is having discussions about following suit.

“There’s pros and cons in both directions. It’s useful in some ways,” Taylor said. “It needs to be used when appropriate, and it is starting to feel like it’s not an emergency.”

The emergency declaration allows a municipality to convene an emergency operations centre to make decisions. It also facilitated emergency orders, of which Newmarket has declared two: one to limit parking along Main Street to 30 minutes to facilitate curbside pickup; and one to allow bylaw officers to give non-compliance tickets for emergency rule violations.

“While this is a positive step forward,” the Town of Aurora said in ending its state of emergency, “we encourage everyone to continue to follow all public health guidelines and to get vaccinated.”

The province revoked its emergency declaration June 9 when it launched its reopening strategy.

Taylor said every community in the GTA could fall either way on the issue right now.

“I don’t think it’s crucial which way you go,” he said. “We should give it some thought.”