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Nov. 25, 2020 | Wednesday
Local News
Mask ambassadors to hit the streets of NOTL next week
Margot Devlin, Lois Chapman, Kim Mustill, Laurie Harley (president of the Shaw Guild), Brenda Weafer and Cheryl Morris. Supplied

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has partnered with the Shaw Guild to establish an ambassador program, which will have volunteers greet people on Queen Street to remind them about COVID-19 safety protocols.

The volunteers will hit the streets starting next Wednesday, and will be out each Friday, Saturday and Sunday until early September.

“This is a test,” said Coun. Gary Burroughs, who helped organize the project with Coun. Wendy Cheropita.

“It’s only going to run through past the first week in September to see how it works. I’m hoping that it’ll be so successful that we can expand it and have it almost going full-time as welcomers to our community,” he said.

Cheropita said so far 29 people have signed up as volunteers with the program.

The ambassadors will use key phrases, such as:

“Welcome to Niagara-on-the-Lake, my name is _____ and I am a NOTL Ambassador.”

“I’m here to help make your stay as enjoyable as possible.”

“Your safety is our priority.”

“Ultimately reducing the spread of COVID-19 is the primary driver for all of us.”

“There are a few things you need to know. We encourage you to maintain two metres between you and others, you must wear a mask or a facial shield in all indoor spaces or where social distancing is not possible and please use hand sanitizers. They are available at the entrance of all retail stories and restaurants. Please use them for your safety.”

The program was put together by Cheropita and Burroughs, with the help of town staff and the Shaw Guild. 

“A couple of weeks ago we were directed to try and get a volunteer program going, and connected with the Shaw Guild. They have 320 volunteer members and so they were a perfect starting point,” Burroughs said during Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Burroughs noted the ambassadors will not be enforcing bylaws, just greeting people, and if they are wearing a mask, they will thank them.

During a presentation about the program, Cheropita outlined the major goals of the ambassadors, which are to “greet, support and educate.”

Greet means “a friendly face to welcome visitors to our beautiful community,” she said.

Support, she said, is to “provide citizens’ support and assistance by gaining compliance for Stage 3 social distancing.”

And the education aspect will focus on “the importance of creating a safe environment for you and me and reduce the spread of COVID in our community.”

The volunteers have been asked not to talk to any protesters if they run into them, Cheropita added.

Burroughs and Cheropita both praised town staff and Shaw Guild members Laurie Harley and Cheryl Morris for helping to bring the project come together. They also thanked NOTL resident Rene Bertschi for making custom face shields and Andrew Niven of Konzelmann Estate Winery for donating a bottle of wine to each of the volunteers.

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