Image of Covid-19 virus

Note: If you have fever and/or cough, have traveled to one of the affected countries in the past 14 days, or have had close or confirmed contact with a probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and contact the HKPR District Health Unit (1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020) or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) for additional direction.  

The Municipality's response 

The health and wellbeing of residents and staff continues to be the Municipality’s highest priority. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, we are collaborating, and sharing information and resources, with community partners to ensure preparedness. We are also regularly assessing operations and implementing measures, where required, to protect the health and well-being of the community. Public health officials continue to advise that risk in Northumberland remains relatively low.

Please be advised: at their regular meeting on September 1, 2020, Council authorized the temporary closure of all lands and parks, under ownership of the Municipality, that border the Ganaraska River, effective September 2, 2020 until October 15, 2020, in an effort to limit group gatherings during the annual salmon migration while the global pandemic is ongoing. This closure includes all green spaces and trails from Molson Street to Lake Ontario, as well as access to the Fishway (also known as the Fish Ladder or Cobett’s Dam) and prevents access to the River through municipal properties.

Read the media release for more details.

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions related to the temporary land closure: 

Q: Why did you close the land bordering the Ganaraska River?
A: In response to the ongoing global pandemic, Council authorized the closure of municipal lands that border the Ganaraska River to limit group gatherings in the River and along the River.
From experience, we know that the annual salmon migration in Port Hope draws thousands of anglers, tourists, and residents to the River each fall. In order to comply with the government guidelines to maintain physical distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19, these extreme measures were taken in the interest of safety and wellbeing for the whole community.

Q: Why not just restrict fishing and close the Fish Ladder?
A: The Municipality has no jurisdiction to ban or restrict fishing, as that is a function of the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The River is also not municipal land. This is why Council restricted access to the lands and parklands thaty border the River (as they are properties owned by the Municipality).
Likewise, the Fishway (also called the Fish Ladder or Corbett’s Dam) is not owned by the Municipality. The Municipality closed off the access to the Fishway via the parking lot, as that land is a municipal property.

Q: Why did you close access to the Trails?
A: From experience, we know that the salmon migration attracts thousands of people who congregate along the River each fall. The closure was done to deter this type of congregating, and not just by the angler – by all those who gather in large groups along the trails and walkways as well. Tourists are known to congest the trails in numerous areas from Molson Street to the Lake and in particular through the downtown core. Also, there are areas along the trail that border crown land and would provide access to anglers and tourists thus defeating the intent.

Q: How did Council arrive at this decision?
A: At a Special Council meeting on July 21, 2020, Parks, Recreations and Culture staff brought forward a report, proposing two options to manage the anticipated increase in visitors and group gatherings that takes place during the annual salmon migration. The two options presented to Council were:

Option 1: Implement the following strategies:

  • Support the Ganaraka Region Conservation Authority with the closure of the fish ladder
  • Close the access ramp to the river on the west side north of Walton Street
  • Initiate a public awareness campaign related to precautions for COVID-19

Option 2: Close access to all municipal properties along the Ganaraska River, including the trails, from Molson Street to Robertson Street.
Council directed staff to post these options as a public consultation to allow residents to provide their feedback, comments, and preferred options and to help Council make the decision.
The consultation was posted for one month and was advertised on the municipal website, on social media, in the local newspaper, at Council meetings and in media interviews with Council and staff.
Overwhelmingly, those who provided their feedback opted to close all access to the River.
Number of comments received: 185

  •  Option 1 - Keep it open: 43
  • Option 2 – Close Access to the River: 114
  • Keep Open: 9
  • Other Suggestions/Unknown: 19 7.3
  • 62% of the total respondents supported Option 2 (close off access to the River) with the majority of those being residents of Port Hope.

In addition, an online poll was conducted utilizing the My Port Hope citizen engagement portal. In total, 207 participants responded with 144 or 70% in favour of Option 2 (closing the River).

The majority of respondents who supported Option 1 or a full opening with no restrictions were not residents of Port Hope

At the Council meeting on September 1, 2020, Council unanimously voted to close access to all municipal properties along the Ganaraska River, including the trails. They also amended the resolution to include the lands from Molson street to Lake Ontario, with the exception of the boat launch, the parking lots directly north and south of the fish cleaning station and the parking lot at Riverside Park.

Q: Why not just keep the River open and increase enforcement on those who are not physically distancing?
A: The Municipality of Port Hope is a small community of just over 16,500 residents. Our Municipal Law Enforcement officers and our Port Hope Police Service do not have the capacity to appropriately enforce Ontario’s physical distancing legislation when there are hundreds, and potentially thousands of people gathered.

Q: How are you going to enforce this closure?
A: Currently there is fencing, barricades and signage posted to advise residents and visitors that the area is closed. Violators of this closure are subject to a fine of $150 per By-law 54/2017 Section 3 (a).

Q: Is this decision legal?
A: Yes. This land closure was authorized in accordance with By-law 54/2017, which “provides that the council of a local municipality may pass by-laws respecting matters within the sphere of jurisdiction of culture, parks, recreation and heritage… to regulate, protect and govern the use of parks, public open spaces in the Municipality of Port Hope” This means that Council may make decisions regarding the parkland and public open spaces within Port Hope.

Q: How long is the closure going to last?
A: The land closure is in effect until October 15, 2020.

Q: Why not provide enhanced enforcement and use the fines to pay for the officers and staff?
A: Fines collected, whether for a By-law offense or Provincial Offense, are distributed to the Province, the County and the Municipality. A very small percentage is allocated to the Municipality, with the majority distributed to the Province. By-Laws are submitted to the Province in order to enact as law as a Provincial Offense, which allows for enforcement.

Beach icon Port Hope Beaches
West Beach, East Beach, and the Caldwell Street Beach access point are temporarily closed over the weekends: Saturdays at 7 a.m. until Mondays at 10 a.m *Please note that during long weekends, the closure is extended to include the holiday Monday. The beaches will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2020. 

Dog icon Dog Park
The Baulch Road Dog Park is open. Please be sure to practise physical distancing while enjoying the park. 

Sports Field Icon Sports Fields
Sport and recreation fields, including soccer pitches and baseball diamonds are open for non-team sports. 

Bench and gazebo icon Benches, Gazebos and Picnic Tables
Municipal picnic areas, including those at Optimist Park, Lake Street Gazebo, Kinsmen Park Gazebo, East and West Beach are open for public access. Benches are open for public use, but please remember to physically distance. 

Skateboarder icon Skate Park
The Municipal Skate Park is open. Please remember to use the hand sanitizer provided before you enter and when you exit the Skate Park. 

Tennis Court Icon Tennis Courts
The Municipal tennis courts are open, however, the Port Hope Racquet Club has reserved specific timeslots, which permits Racquet Club members priority use of courts. Please review our public notice on open amenities for additional details. 

Playground icon icon Playground Structures
Playgrounds are now open. Please note that play structures are not regularly cleaned or sanitized. It is recommended that playground users avoid touching their face and wash and/or sanitize hands immediately after use. Note that there is no limit to the number of playground users, but physical distancing measures are still in effect.

Splash Pad Icon Splash Pad
The new, state-of-the-art splash pad is located at Wladyka Park and is currently open for public use. A limit of 20 people are permitted in the fenced area and users are reminded to wash or sanitize their hands before and after use. For more information, visit the parks and playgrounds page.

Trails icon Municipal Trails
All trails along the River (except for the Waterfront Trail) are closed until October 15, 2020 during the Salmon Migration. For more information, review the media release.  

Boat launch icon Boat Launch
The municipal boat launch is open for public use. 



Fishing icon Fishing and Access to the River
Council has authorized the temporary closure of all municipal lands and parks that border the Ganaraska River, effective September 2, 2020 until October 15, 2020. Review the full media release for details. 

Bus icon Transit
Municipal transit remains operational, but at reduced customer loads. Customers are not required to pay or show fare passes to board the bus. This eliminates the personal contact that is required for the physical exchange of fares. The buses continue to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. 

Book icon Library
The Port Hope Public Library building remains closed, however, Mary J. Benson Branch (31 Queen Street) is offering curbside pick up. Visit the Library website for details. 

Town Hall icon Municipal Buildings
All municipal buildings remain closed at this time. This includes: Town Hall, Town Park Recreation Centre, Ruth Clarke Activity Centre for Seniors, Port Hope Public Library, Port Hope Community Hub, Port Hope Marketing and Tourism Office.  *Jack Burger Sports Complex is open, with select programming.

Arena Icon Arena and Public Skating
The arena at the Jack Burger Sports Complex remains closed. 



Day Camp Icon Summer Day Camp
Summer Day Camp registration is now complete. The final week of Camp is August 31 to September 4, 2020. 


Programs Icon Programs
All registered recreation programs are cancelled until further notice, with the exception of a reservation-based swimming at the Jack Burger Sports Complex and outdoor fitness programming.

Pool Icon Swimming
Reservations for swimming at the Jack Burger Sports Complex is now open. The schedule for swimming varies each week. Weekly schedules are available on the aquatics page. Note that all swims must be reserved in advance.

Ruth Clarke Activity Centre Icon Ruth Clarke Activity Centre
The Ruth Clarke Activity Centre for Seniors remains closed. 

Parking Icon Parking
Pay parking lots and meters are available throughout the downtown. Pay parking requirements were reinstated by Council on July 8, 2020.

Jack Burger Sports Complex Update: Reservations for swimming at the Jack Burger Sports Complex is now open. Weekly swim schedules are posted on the aquatics webage and reservations can be made online or over the phone starting on the Thursdays for the upcoming week. Note that all swims must be reserved in advance.

Fitness Class Update: The Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture is offering outdoor fitness opportunities this summer. All classes have been developed according to Provincial guidelines and requirements from our local health unit. Classes will be offered for a 4-5 week session starting the week of July 27, and participants must register to participate (there will be no drop-in option). More information can be found on the Recreation, Leisure & Culture Programs page.  

Day Camp Update: With many protocols and procedures to work through, our camp will be a bit different this summer, but we are pleased to be able to offer a modified camp experience this season. 

Day camp registration will begin on Monday, July 6, 2020, and camp is scheduled to begin the following week, on July 13, 2020. Read the full media release about camp registration, or visit the day camp webpage for full registration details. 


What is COVID-19? 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness in humans ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. In some cases, illness caused by novel coronavirus can be mild. In more severe cases, the novel coronavirus can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, severe influenza-like illness, kidney failure and even death.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19? 
Signs and symptoms may include fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as: 

  • Fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties

Where is testing available for COVID-19? 
An assessment centre is available at Northumberland Hills Hospital. If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, return home immediately and self-isolate. Seek clinical assessment using one of these four options:

  • Complete an online self-assessment
  • Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
  • Contact your primary care provider by phone.

Self isolation and social distancing

What is self isolation (also called home isolation)? 
Self-isolation is a strategy used to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to others. Individuals self-isolating must stay home, and limit time spent with others. While self-isolating individuals should not go to work, school, use public transportation, or go to other public areas (e.g. malls, restaurants).

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has specific guidance on self-isolation available for:

  • People who are awaiting test results, or who have COVID-19
  • People who are returning from travel
  • People who have had contact with a person who has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus

The following individuals are being advised to self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • People who have been diagnosed with or are awaiting test results for COVID-19.
  • People who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19.
  • People who have recently travelled outside of Canada.
  • People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new cough, shortness of breath). 

What is social distancing (also called physical distancing)? 
It is maintaining a distance between you and other people — in this case, at least two metres (six feet). The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit is recommending that all residents practice social distancing to help stop any transmission of the novel coronavirus in the community. 

COVID-19 impacts on the Municipality

What measures are in place in the Municipality of Port Hope? 
Effective March 17, the Government of Ontario declared an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the Municipality closed its municipal buildings to the public. Further, all organized public events are cancelled, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship.

Has Port Hope declared an emergency?
At this time, the Municipality of Port Hope has not declared a state of emergency. We continue to follow the advice and guidance of the Public Health Unit and Province as the governing authorities during this pandemic.

Our Municipal Emergency Control Group has determined that our first responders and medical professionals have the ability and capacity to support the needs of community and to maintain our critical systems. As such, a declaration of emergency is not required at this time. We continue to closely monitor and assess all new developments and are ready to declare an emergency should that need arise.

How are my property taxes affected by COVID-19?
Municipal property taxes are due on April 28, 2020; however, a penalty for non-payment will not be applied until the first month after the declared emergency is over. For community members on a pre-authorized payment plan who require a deferred payment can email to discuss their payment plan.

How are my water and wastewater bills affected by COVID-19?
The water and wastewater bill due date has been extended by one month and are now due on May 15, 2020. The penalty for non-payment will not be applied until the month after the declared emergency is over. For more information, you can contact

How is the Municipality of Port Hope managing the impacts of COVID-19? 
Operational impacts are being managed as follows:

  • Port Hope Emergency Management is co-ordinating and monitoring the impacts of the unfolding situation and has activated the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The Municipal Emergency Control Group will report to the EOC, should the need arise.

  • The Municipality’s senior leadership meets daily to examine the current situation, issues, challenges, priorities and key information to share with residents.

  • Senior staff is also working closely with local municipalities, exchanging situation reports and raising outstanding issues. 

Are Council meetings taking place? 
Council Meetings are taking place virtually. You can review the agendas and watch or participate in meetings electronically. Visit the Council Portal for details. 

Can I use our parks, trails and walkways?
Green spaces are still available for use, so long as individuals are practicing social distancing. Individuals who have been asked to self-isolate should not spend time in our parks and public spaces.

Playground structures and equipment at all parks are off limits. Signage is posted and we ask that all residents respect these important measures to help keep the community safe.

Is Transit affected by COVID-19? 
Port Hope Transit continues to provide this important service to those who need it our community. We continue monitor and respond to changing conditions and will provide updates as needed.

Effective March 19, 2020 customers are not required to pay or show fare passes to board the bus. This eliminates the personal contact that is required for the physical exchange of fares.

Drivers are monitoring the number of customers who board buses to reduce customer loads, promoting social distancing. The seats directly behind the drivers are not in service.

Reducing the number of people on buses may result in delays, but this measure is essential as the Municipality of Port Hope makes service changes that will help to protect the public and staff.

The vehicles continue to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Is garbage and the recycling programs affect by COVID-19
Garbage and recycling is the responsibility of Northumberland County. For questions about these services, residents should contact 1-866-293-8379 or

Protective measures

How can I protect myself? 
The Ontario Ministry of Health is advising all residents to practise social distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. It is recommended to avoid contact with people outside of your immediate family. To reduce the spread of germs, including COVID-19 and the flu we recommend that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow and encourage others to do the same.
  • Wash your hands after handling nose and throat secretions (e.g. after throwing out used facial tissues).
  • Avoid touching your face and clean hands before touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, especially those that are high-touch areas.
  • Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, toys or anything else that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
  • If you are ill, stay at home and keep yourself away from others.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. If you are ill and must visit a health care provider, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen. The World Health Organization does not recommend the use of face masks for individuals who are not sick as there is no evidence to suggest a benefit.

Business Questions
Companies and workplaces that have questions about this closure order can call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Public Complaints/Concerns
If you have concerns that a business or service is still open when it should not be, do one of the following:
Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, if your complaint involves any of the following businesses/services:

  • Child Care Facilities
  • Recreational Camps
  • Personal Services Settings (including mobile and home-based settings)
  • Tanning Salons
  • Facilities Providing Indoor Recreational Programs Including Indoor Public Pools and Whirlpools
  • Food Premises, including restaurants
  • Theatres and Cinemas (including drive-ins)
  • Trailer Parks
  • Schools (Public and Private)

For any other type of business, report your concerns to your local police service using the non-emergency number. Do not call 911. 

Employee Concerns
If you have COVID-19 concerns or questions about your workplace, you should call the Ministry of Labour’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

Landlord/Tenant Issues 
Contact the Landlord Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234.

Please review our indepth frequently asked questions related to property taxes and/or water and wastewater bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Municipal Updates

Facility closures

Please note that municipal facilities are closed. Staff are working remotely, where possible, until further notice. All events and recreation activities and programs are cancelled or postponed. For details, visit

Municipal buildings currently closed to the public:

      • Town Hall
      • The Fire Administration Office at Fire Station #1
      • Development Team Office (5 Mill Street South)
      • Joint Operations Centre
      • Town Park Recreation Centre
      • Marketing and Tourism Office
      • Port Hope Community Hub
      • Ruth Clarke Activity Centre for Seniors
      • Rural Area Public Works Yard
      • Cemetery Office

Municipal buildings currently open to the public: 

If you have an urgent request for a municipal service, please contact staff via email or phone during regular office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Given this change in our usual customer service delivery, delays are to be expected for basic municipal services. We apologize for any inconvenience and will do our best to meet the needs of the community.

Call: 905-885-4544


Call: 905-885-4544


Call: 905-885-2474 ext. 3221 


Firefighters are operating as usual, with no impacts to the Fire Service outside of additional precautions.
For emergencies, please call 9-1-1.
For staff at the Fire Administration Office, call: 905-753-2230


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