Media Release

March 13, 2020

Mayor Canniff urges community to pull together during COVID-19 emergency

Mayor Darrin Canniff today urged local residents to remain calm and heed the directions of local health officials regarding the COVID-19 emergency.

Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer’s of Health Dr. David Colby this afternoon declared a local emergency for Chatham-Kent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to be very clear that declaring a local emergency is in no way meant to induce panic, and residents should not interpret it as such” stated Dr. Colby, “Rather, it allows us flexibility to use an “all-hands-on-deck” approach as we take the necessary preventative measures across our community.

The mayor echoed Dr. Colby’s call for calm and community involvement.

“Residents of Chatham-Kent have always come together when needed and I have no doubt whatsoever that we will do so again,” Canniff said.  “We have a very strong team of public health officials, backed up by the provincial and federal government. We are prepared but we need the community’s support.”

Canniff said residents should use precautions including washing hands, limiting personal contact through social distancing and avoiding crowds.

“It is important to familiarize yourself with the public health unit’s recommendations,” he said. “We don’t have any cases of COVID-19 in the community and by taking these precautions are doing our best to minimize the virus in Chatham-Kent.”

Canniff warned against the spread of rumours and misinformation through social media. “Pay attention to what our local health experts are saying,” he said. “We will make sure residents are updated and kept informed with correct, scientifically-based information.”

Dr. Colby’s statement contains a number of orders issued under his authority, including a ban on all public and private schools to be closed from March 14th-April 5th

  • all licensed childcare facilities to be closed from March 14th-April 5th (at this time, this does not apply to home-based childcare settings)
  • the ban of all mass gatherings of 250+ people (included in that maximum is the number of staff in place to support the event)
  • anyone aged 0-17 years who has travelled internationally, including to the United States, will self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, and NO INDIVIDUALS returning home from international travel will be able to attend school or childcare for 14 days 
  • adults who travel internationally, including the United States, will be asked to self-monitor upon their return and isolate if they become ill.

The full text of Dr. Colby’s statement can be found on the municipality’s web site at a


For more information contact:

Darrin Canniff
Mayor, Chatham-Kent

Media Contact:
Jim Blake
Communications Officer
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
519-360-1998 x 3624




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