Response to COVID-19: Municipal Services Update

The Covid Chronicle

**** HRM Media Release

Public Service Announcement
Response to COVID-19: Halifax Transit service updates

The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19. Steps are being taken to mitigate impacts on municipal services while also helping to reduce the spread of the disease.

The health and wellness of residents and employees is our main priority.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, Halifax Transit passengers will be asked to use the rear doors for boarding and exiting. For those who require the use of the ramp for accessibility, the front door will continue to be used. Regular ferry boarding service will remain in place.

Halifax Transit will suspend all fare collection on bus and ferry services effective Wednesday, March 18 as a result of the municipality’s commitment to safe social distancing. ​

Halifax Transit has already taken measures to help reduce the spread of disease, including an increased frequency in wipe-downs of high-touch surfaces, making the first seat unavailable to riders on buses, limiting passengers on buses to seated passengers only, and limiting the number of ferry passengers to 150 per trip. 50 per trip.

Ridership is down more than 43 per cent on conventional bus service, 51 per cent on ferry service and 67 per cent on Access-A-Bus service. Residents are being thanked for their continued cooperation in the effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

All transit services will continue to operate on a regular schedule at this time.

Changes in fare collection are in response to keeping the community safe from the spread of COVID-19, and are not intended to encourage increased use of transit services. Riders are asked to stay on buses and ferries for necessary trips only, and not to loiter. ​

Residents and visitors who are feeling ill are asked to avoid using all transit services until their health has returned to normal.

For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 infection, visit Halifax.ca/coronavirus.

Thank you for helping with the community effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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Response to COVID-19: Municipal Services Update

The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19. Steps are being taken to mitigate impacts on municipal services while also helping to reduce the spread of the disease.

The health and wellness of residents and employees is our main priority.

The municipality is working closely with government partners and following the guidance and recommendations from provincial and federal health agencies on COVID-19.​

In addition to Halifax Transit, all essential services of the municipality – including 311, fire and police – are operational and adhering to the most updated guidance and precautions from health officials.

Specific actions being taken by the municipality to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Cleaning staff in all municipal facilities have been instructed to increase the frequency of thoroughly cleaning public surfaces such as door knobs, elevators and counters.
  • Signage is being posted at all publicly accessible municipal facilities to advise visitors to not enter if they feel unwell and to practice safe social distancing.

  • All in-person public engagement and events hosted by the municipality are postponed until further notice. The municipality will provide online engagement options as much as possible.​

  • Halifax Water will maintain critical services.
  • Waste collection is continuing as scheduled
  • There are a number of actions being taken by Halifax Transit and Parks & Recreation (see below).

Impacts to municipal services

Halifax Transit​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

  • Transit service continues to operate on a regular schedule.
  • Effective Monday, March 16 passenger capacity on all ferries will be limited to 150 persons per trip. Additionally, buses will be limited to seating passengers only (standing passengers will not be permitted at this time). This is in a further effort to ensure the health of residents and operators.​
  • Halifax Transit has increased the frequency of wipe-downs for high-touch surfaces on our buses, ferries and at terminals.​ By this weekend, we expect to be completing wipe-downs every 24 hours.
  • As a precautionary measure against COVID-19, the first seat on many Halifax Transit buses will be unavailable to riders. This is to exercise safe social distancing between operators and riders. This does not impact wheelchair-accessible seating.
  • For riders’ information, some Halifax Transit operators may be wearing masks. This is not a mandated requirement but a personal choice we support.
  • Residents and visitors who are feeling ill are asked to avoid using transit services until your health returns to normal.
  • We ask riders to give themselves extra time when possible. We will continue to monitor and adjust as necessary.

  • Regular updates regarding the status of service will be posted on halifax.ca and shared via social media. Follow @hfxtransit and @hfxgov.

Parks & Recreation

  • Effective Tuesday, March 17 all municipally owned recreation facilities, community centres and arenas will be closed, and all programs and bookings will be suspended until further notice.
  • While facilities will be open Monday, March 16, we encourage residents to stay home if possible and avoid facilities if they are feeling unwell or have recently travelled outside of Nova Scotia.
  • All March Break camps are cancelled effective immediately, aligning with the decision from the Province of Nova Scotia on Sunday, March 15.
  • Please note, for residents who were booked into a program that has been canceled, staff will be in touch in the coming weeks regarding the status of your account. We ask residents to hold off on contacting recreation staff as they continue to help support ongoing service adjustments related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

For the latest updates regarding the status of municipal services, visit halifax.ca/coronavirus

What you can do

Please exercise protective measures like proper hand hygiene and staying home while sick. This is important to personal health and helps safeguards the health of others, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities.

Take extra steps to stay safe, including measures like social distancing. This means avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings as well as greeting one another with a wave or elbow instead of a handshake or hug.

Residents are encouraged to​ have no more than​ two weeks​ of supplies in the event that they have to self-isolate.

Residents are encouraged to use the municipality’s online services via halifax.ca, including:

  • Pay property taxes
  • Pay parking tickets
  • Report an issue to 311

Stay informed:

Thank you for helping with the community effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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