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COVID19: Changes to Transit & Parking, Council approves financial relief plans

For immediate release: March 19, 2020 - 4:49pm
FR20-1115

We are constantly reassessing pandemic developments to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and citizens.  We have also continued to reassess the way we deliver public services to keep staff and residents safe when we are out in the community.

Transit fare suspension and rear door boarding effective Friday, March 20

To reduce the risk to Transit Operators during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting Friday, Saskatoon Transit will ask riders to get on and off buses by using the rear doors. Transit also reminds riders to keep a safe distance — at least one metre — from bus operators and fellow riders.

As a result, the City will also be suspending fares indefinitely.  The City will be determining how to compensate those affected by this and those details will be provided soon.

Anyone who requires personal mobility devices will be exempt from entering the rear doors and will be permitted to enter and exit through the front doors as usual.

Please note: all riders will be required to stay behind the front wheel wells and to keep the seats behind the operator free at all times. This measure will meet the new recommendation for social distancing released by the Province of Saskatchewan on Wednesday March 18.  Transit will also monitor where and when extra buses may need to be added onto routes to help people maintain appropriate social distance.

Saskatoon Transit is also reassuring customers of Transit’s daily cleaning protocols, which include regular hard surface wipe-downs with hospital-grade disinfectant and disinfectant misting treatments.

Parking Restrictions for Residential Parking Program Zones Suspended

Effective immediately parking restrictions for the Residential Parking Program zones are suspended until further notice.  In addition, overtime parking on all residential streets will no longer be enforced, to encourage residents to stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Public safety-related parking restrictions remain in effect to maintain emergency access and traffic flow including:

  • "No Stopping" signs
  • "No Parking" signs
  • "Accessible Parking" signs
  • Fire Hydrants (maintain 1 metre from the centre of a fire hydrant)
  • No parking within 10 metres of an intersection
  • No parking in alleys unless active loading/unloading is taking place.

Further details on these parking restrictions are provided on the City of Saskatoon website: saskatoon.ca/moving-around/parking/understanding-parking-saskatoon

Building Standards

The decision to close City Hall to the public has a direct effect on the way we do business, including providing building inspections and permits:

  • All building and plumbing inspections are suspended while the City explores options to provide inspections in a safe manner.
  • Residential applications are limited to online.
  • Property Information Disclosure (PID) applications accepted via building.standards@saskatoon.ca
  • Plumbing permit applications accepted via plumbing.permits@saskatoon.ca
  • Payments will be accepted via telephone at 306.975.2645.
  • New commercial permit applications will not be accepted. The City is exploring opportunities to provide online access to this program.

As the situation is evolving, we will update the Building Standards webpages regularly if there are service limitations.

Questions? Reach out to our permit file support team by calling (306) 975-2645 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What is the City doing to provide financial relief for citizens?

To offer assistance and best service to citizens experiencing the effects of the economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is committed to providing increased flexibility and immediate short-term relief for your utility payments through the following changes:

Utility Services

We will continue to bill for utility services as normal.  However, to best serve the City’s customers in these extraordinary times, the City has made the following changes to current utility collections activities:

  • Utility disconnections due to arrears will be suspended until September 30, 2020;
  • Late payment charges will be suspended on all utility accounts until September 30, 2020; and
  • We will continue to generate utility bill reminders and other related notices for customers who are in arrears to keep them informed of their current situation.

These measures are aimed at providing financial relief for customers who may not be able to afford to pay their bills on time.  By suspending late payment charges, utility customers will have the option to delay bill payments without putting themselves in additional financial hardship.  However, our staff will continue to work with the City’s utility customers regarding payment arrangements so as to not leave them in a difficult financial situation in the future.

Delaying disconnections will help ensure that all homes have access to water, allowing for proper handwashing and personal hygiene.

Have utility-related questions? Please call our Revenue Customer Service Representatives at 306-975-2400. We understand and will work with you.

2020 Property Taxes

Your 2020 Property Tax notice will be delivered by the end of May 2020.

To offer assistance and best service to citizens experiencing the effects of the economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is committed to providing increased flexibility and immediate short-term relief for your 2020 Property Tax payment. On your notice, your 2020 Property Tax due date will still show as June 30, 2020. However:

  • The City is extending to you, a three-month grace period, allowing you additional time to pay your 2020 Property Tax amount due.
  • You will not incur any penalties on your 2020 taxes if your property tax payment is made in full before September 30, 2020.

Have property tax-related questions? Please call our Revenue Customer Service Representatives at 306-975-2400. We understand and will work with you.

Updates will continue to be provided at saskatoon.ca/covid-19 and at saskatoonpolice.ca