RUSSELL – Businesses and local organizations have responded quickly and decisively to the public health threat of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit directed on March 13 that all community and sports complexes be closed, and libraries only open under certain conditions.

Social media and the websites of each organization are the best methods to stay up to date on closures and cancellations, but here is a partial list of the status of local events and groups, as of Mar. 16.

Trivia Night for 5 Cyclone Air Cadets on March 18 is cancelled. Contact the Air Cadets regarding ticket refunds.

Russell Minor Hockey games and practices are postponed.

Russell Township arenas, sports dome, bowling alley, and libraries are closed until further notice.

The Russell Legion will be closed until March 30.

The Russell Curling Club is closed to all activities until further notice.

Russell Township is asking residents to avoid doing business in person at the Town Hall and/or other satellite offices if your visit is non-urgent. The municipality encourages residents to use its online payment services for parking ticket payments, dog tag renewal, etc. Dog tag renewals have been extended until May 31.

The PharmaChoice pharmacy in Russell will offer delivery of medications for those who are unable to leave the house, and may be able to fill prescriptions for up to three months.

Russell Foodland is also offering delivery, in cooperation with the Kin Club of Russell.

Russell Transpo will continue to operate and the operator will be undertaking additional measures to sanitize buses. The township has extended the expiration date of the 10-ticket yellow booklets to May 31, 2020.

If you have family or friends in the Prescott and Russell Residence, be aware that the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) has restricted access to the 146-bed long-term care home located in Hawkesbury. The Ministry of Health has strongly recommended that long-term care homes only allow essential visitors until further notice. “Essential” visitors are those visiting residents who are very ill or requiring end-of-life care.

South Nation Conservation has closed its offices until further notice, but staff are available by phone or email. Also, some Conservation Areas remain open and maintained for passive winter recreation, including: Two Creek Forest Conservation Area, Robert Graham Conservation Area, Warwick Forest Conservation Area, J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area, W. E. Burton Conservation Area, Russell Recreational Trail and Nokomis Park. Group reservations and events have been cancelled.

All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled from March 16 to April 3 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. If you have a matter scheduled during this time, you do not need to attend court.

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