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City announces temporary layoffs for hundreds of workers amid COVID-19

Approximately 470 part-time recreation and theatre staff affected by the announcement
USED 2019-11-26 Good Morn RB 11
Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

The City of Barrie announced today it will be laying off hundreds of workers due to the "significant impact" COVID-19 has had on municipal services. 

With the closure of community centres and theatres, approximately 470 part-time recreation and theatre staff have been informed their positions will be laid off until operation of those facilities resume. Additionally, with the city providing free transit, the part-time transit clerk positions have also been notified of the layoffs.  

“These are truly unprecedented times, and the city is faced with the tough choices of how we operate during the COVID-19 pandemic," city CAO Michael Prowse said in a release issued Monday afternoon, reiterating it was not a decision taken lightly. 

“Our main goal is to keep our employees safe and healthy and get them back to work as soon as responsibly possible," Prowse added. "In the meantime, the city will continue to follow the mandates set by the province and provide critical services to the community.”

The release indicated the city "remains committed to providing the essential services citizens rely on every day as the organization continues responding to this unprecedented situation."

Numerous city services have been affected by the virus, including the closure of recreation facilities, libraries and theatres. 

City officials say they will also continue to evaluate and monitor service levels.

As of today, there are 98 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, according to statistics from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

A state of emergency was declared in Barrie on March 23 to deal with the coronavirus. 

The city's senior management team has been overseeing the health crisis. The emergency control group was activated March 13. The group, which also includes police, fire, hospital and public-health officials, continues to meet on daily. 

Last week, Prowse told BarrieToday that the city's executive management team was reviewing lost revenues in a number of departments due to the coronavirus. 

For the latest updates to city services, visit

Raymond Bowe

About the Author: Raymond Bowe

Raymond is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting from Simcoe County since 2000
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