Town of Mono's COVID-19 Message Centre

High Speed Fallout from COVID-19

This message from the Town of Mono was posted on 
June 10, 2020

With the lockdown brought on by COVID-19 more and more people are reliant on internet access and its speed and quality.

Tenuous at best in many parts of Mono and Dufferin during normal times, internet bandwidth is now stretched.  According to a CBC report, Bell is experiencing a 60% growth in daytime usage while nighttime usage is up by 30% and that was almost one month ago.

More critically, the CRTC estimates that only 40.8% of rural households even have high speed internet. Due to the way this is measured, the percentage is actually much lower.

All this will take time as many of us in Mono to struggle with substandard speed and service.

Suddenly the demands on our internet have hugely increased due to working at home, students faced with more online learning, more demand for home based entertainment and a huge increase in our reliance on the internet to keep us connected with our friends.

Businesses have seen their employees can be just as productive if not more so operating from home.  Presently, many home businesses are rejecting rural Dufferin as a suitable location for them to operate

Governments have discovered they can effectively conduct business by way of Zoom, GoToMeeting and other platforms while at the same time allowing public access to and participation in meetings.

Even as we climb out of our present circumstances, it will only get more challenging.

There is no going back.  These issues and the internet infrastructure need to improve dramatically to meet the demand and challenge.

So what can we do in the mean time?

In no particular order:

  • If you are experiencing slow or irregular internet service, try unplugging your router, letting it sit for 20 seconds and then plugging it in. This may clear the ‘cobwebs’ out of your connection.
  • If your modern is more than two years old you may benefit from an upgrade. Contact your provider to see whether they will provide a newer modem. Often, they will without debate.
  • Shop around for other providers of internet service and different products. There are too few choices, but they do exist.
  • If you believe you have been ‘gouged’ by an internet service provider or have substandard service, here’s what you can do:

    -Write to MP Kyle Seeback — Kyle.Seeback@parl.gc.ca and MPP Sylvia Jones — sylvia.jonesco@pc.ola.org and the Chair of the CRTC Ian Scott — ian.scott@crtc.gc.ca

    -File a complaint for gouging in times of COVID crisis. Use the 'other' category on the form and describe your circumstances

The inadequacy of our rural internet access was highlighted by COVID-19.  The economic, educational and recreational demands for high speed internet will not go away.

Here in Mono we’ve formed a Task Force to examine ways of improving local service. Discussions have taken place with large providers and startup entrepreneurs. We are looking at encouraging local, small scale high speed wireless solutions.

In short, we believe it’s time to stop dithering around and seize the moment to find solutions.

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Previous Messages

Experts are divided on the use of a face mask by the public.      

You may wonder, Do I need to wear a mask?  If so, when should I wear it?  And what kind of mask, and how to wear it properly?  

Clearly, the purpose of a mask is to prevent the virus from being transmitted either from yourself or to yourself.  To varying degrees, all face masks will provide two-way protection.

When an infected person talks forcefully, coughs or sneezes, they will propel virus laden droplets into the air.  These droplets are relatively heavy and drop to the ground within 1 to 2 meters. If these droplets strike a person’s face, the mask should stop virus laden water droplets from passing through.

A person can be infected with the coronavirus and not show any signs of disease (that is, no cough, fever or difficulty breathing) and still pass on the virus. This can occur early in a person who later develops symptoms, or the person carrying the virus may never get sick.

To be safe, you should assume that anyone that you are meeting might be carrying the virus or if you have not had strict isolation, you might be carrying the virus yourself.  If activities such as grocery shopping put you less than 2 m from other people, a mask can prevent you from either receiving the virus or passing it on.

There are three categories of masks with varying filtering abilities: “homemade” masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks. The most efficient is the N95 and the least efficient is the homemade mask.  As there has been a shortage of surgical and N95 and masks, the advice was save these masks for health care workers.  Fortunately, the availability of masks is now improving.  

All but homemade masks have 3 to 4 non-woven layers, each of which has a specific function. The middle layer is a fine filtration material, usually made of polypropylene with an electrical charge that catches the smallest droplets – down to 0.3 micro m.  Homemade masks use fine mesh washable cloth.  

Due to the limited availability of masks you may not have much choice in which mask to use.  If you have a workshop you may already have N95 masks as they are the standard for dust protection.  Clearly due to their heavier construction and tight fit to your face the N95 provides the ultimate protection, however for most encounters a surgical mask provides a similar a level of protection.  Homemade masks are less efficient.  

Improper mask wearing wastes its value. and may increase your risk of infection.  Once exposed, the entire outer surface must be treated as if contaminated.  Treat it as though it is dripping with virus particles.  Wash or sanitize your hands before you put it on and position it to cover your nose mouth and chin. Leave your mask alone.  Do not fiddle with it and do not touch the outer surface.  When you are finished with your mask, carefully take it off by handling only the straps and immediately wash or sanitize your hands.  If you plan to reuse it, put it into a small cardboard box.  After 24 hours or so any virus on the mask will likely have degenerated, and you can then reuse it, considering that it is virus-free.

Surgical masks and N95 masks are designed for single use.  However, in a time of mask shortage, the question of mask reuse is important.  Due to its robust construction the N95 lends itself to wearing many times.  This has been standard practice in industrial settings, where it is often reused many times.  With its lighter construction the surgical mask can be reused , however it is more likely to physically deteriorate, especially if it gets wet from heavy breathing.  A used mask in good condition is likely as effective as a new mask.  Recently some health care workers have been practicing careful mask reuse.

When in doubt, Wear a mask.

An Informational Guide to Town of Mono's New Plastic Bag Bylaw

Please select whether you are a Resident / Member of the General Public or a Business

Information for Residents

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer receive plastic checkout bags from stores in Mono. You may only receive a bag if:

  • You are first asked whether you need a bag and you respond that you require one
  • The bag you receive is a paper bag that can be recycled
  • You must pay for the bag

Businesses must allow you to use any reusable bag that you may already have, including bags from competitors.

Woman receiving purchased products in reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still receive bags in situations when the bag is being used to do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also receive small paper bags at no charge for smaller purchases.

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

Remember Your Bags Graphic

Information for Businesses

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer provide bags to customers. You may only supply a bag if:

  • You first ask customers whether they need a bag and they respond that they require one
  • The bag you provide to customers is a paper bag that can be recycled
  • Customers must pay for the bag. Businesses can set whatever price they feel is appropriate for these bags.

Customers should be allowed to use any reusable bag that they may already have, including bags from competitors.

Customer receiving purchases in a reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still provide bags in the following situations if the bags do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also provide a small paper bag at no charge for small purchases.

Penalties

Contravening the new Plastic Bag Bylaw will result in a fine of $150. Any person who is charged with multiple or repeat offences under this Bylaw is liable to the following fines if found guilty under Part 3 of the Provincial Offences Act:

  • $500 for each day or part day that the offence continues, limited to $10,000
  • $500 for each offence in a case of multiple offences and the total of all fines for each included offence is limited to $10,000

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

We're Listening

We are interested to hear about what the switch away from plastic will mean for you at checkouts. What changes will you as a customer or a business need to take? What supports may be helpful? Let us know in the comments. We are ready for your feedback and we are listening.


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