Chatham-Kent leaders were home for the holidays

·2 min read

Home for the holidays.

Despite recent news of several politicians travelling abroad for the holidays, officials in Chatham-Kent remained at home.

According to Chatham-Kent’s Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire, he and Mayor Darrin Canniff haven’t travelled internationally and added he personally hasn’t travelled since August.

Shropshire said non-essential business travel has been restricted since March in Chatham-Kent. He did, however, note some municipal staff have travelled for personal reasons, such as caring for a family member who was ill. Shropshire added he is not aware of any member of council travelling.

“In those cases, staff have been asked to follow the protocols recommended by Public Health, such as isolating at home for up to 14 days and getting a COVID test,” said Shropshire.

He added council is doing its best to stop the spread, adding the fact that nearly all travel and face-to-face meetings have been replaced by virtual meetings, such as Skype or Zoom meetings or telephone calls

According to Shropshire, the municipality set up an online reporting system in the Spring for staff to report any international travel. They also introduced an additional protocol in the Fall for employees to screen themselves and report their COVID-19 status at the beginning of each workday. He said this applies to those working at home and their regular worksite, and their supervisor monitors the status.

“Our principal concern is making sure that if people are put at greater risk because of travel, that we take steps to negate any additional spread,” said Shropshire. “I can’t make any generalized statements as to what we do if somebody did travel; that really is a case by case basis.”

According to the President and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Lori Marshall, she has not travelled during the holidays. In fact, she said neither she nor her management team has travelled during the pandemic.

Marshall said her hospital staff was also provided with travel advice early on, noting travel for hospital staff must be approved by Human Resources, and only urgent travel is permitted.

“I am not aware this would be an issue in Chatham-Kent among health care providers,” said Marshall.

In order to travel, Marshall said her Vice Presidents also need her approval to travel, and she needs approval from the Board of Directors to do the same. Marshall said any travel not approved would result in disciplinary consequences, and anyone on her staff travelling outside of Canada who was not approved would not be paid during the 14-day quarantine.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News