Coronavirus: Open-air burning ban in London, Ont., ends Friday

The London Fire Department says the ban on open-air burning, initially put in place as part of the response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will lift on Friday.

The fire department made the announcement Thursday, stressing that while the ban will soon be lifted, residents are still urged to follow public health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, including physical-distancing measures.

“The ban was a safety measure for our employees and for citizens during this time of uncertainty,” said fire Chief Lori Hamer.

“We now have measures in place to help keep our employees and citizens as safe as possible when crews or staff are responding to emergency and non-emergency calls. We ask that everyone follows the bylaw for their safety, as well as the health and safety of their neighbours when planning an open-air burn.”

The fire department adds that any open-air burn will need to adhere to the city’s open-air burning bylaw.

Open-air burns that are not in compliance can be reported at the non-emergency number, 519-661-5615. Residents with further questions are encouraged to contact the fire prevention division at 519-661-4565, email [email protected] or visit the city’s website.

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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