The City of Kelowna is continuing to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and is following the advice of the B.C. medical health officer — something the mayor said is of utmost importance at this time.
“I want to stay in my lane and not speak on behalf of the public health system, so I urge everyone to pay attention to the directions and recommendations from the medical health officers and the Ministry of Health. This is a very important point for everyone to take note of,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran during a city council meeting on March 16.
“The latest direction from the medical health officer just a few hours ago concerns cancelling gatherings of more than 50 people, and we will work with our staff and contractors to comply with that order.”
Basran said contingency plans are in the works to maintain essential services if a large number of city staff need to self-isolate. Those services include water treatment, wastewater management and emergency services.
“We’re also requiring 14 days of self-isolation for staff returning to Canada from other countries, we’re encouraging staff and the public to use remote services where possible, and suspending all international business travel and non-essential domestic air travel for staff members,” said Basran.
“Health authorities and other levels of government are evaluating what next steps are needed every day, and the City will follow their lead. City facilities are remaining open at this time based on the direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry – the provincial health officer. Dr. Henry is encouraging social distancing, rigorous hygiene and self-isolation if you are feeling sick. We are encouraging all citizens to use remote options for City services if available.”
Lance Kayfish, the city’s manager of risk management and business continuity, said larger city facilities such as the Parkinson Rec Centre are being monitored daily but will remain open for now.
He also said city staff are being given the option to work from home.
Basran stressed three main points to residents of Kelowna:
“To be vigilant, but also remember the risk is low if you take the necessary precautions,” he said. “To follow the advice of health care professionals about proper hygiene, social distancing, self-isolation if you’re sick, and to reconsider non-essential travel.
“And, finally, to take care of one another – be a good neighbour, a good colleague and be supportive of those who might need to isolate themselves in the weeks ahead.
“I know our community will rise to the occasion like we have in other challenging times. And I thank everyone for their understanding and patience as some goods and services are disrupted in the short-term.”