The Vernon Curling Club has been converted into a makeshift shelter to house residents of the Gateway and Our Place shelters to ensure proper social distancing amid COVID-19. (Turning Points Collaborative Society)

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

The Vernon Curling Club has been transformed to house all guests of both Our Place and Gateway Shelter sites together under one roof to provide more space for physical distancing.

The Public Safety Minister called for a provincewide response to COVID-19 on March 26, as directed by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Under the Emergency Program Act, the minister issued ministerial orders, one of which asked municipalities to identify public spaces that could be used, if necessary.

Recognizing a potential need, Turning Points Collaborative Society, BC Housing, Interior Health and the City of Vernon identified the curling rink as good site to amalgamate the two sites due to its size, available amenities and proximity to essential services.

“The amalgamation of these two sites into a larger facility allows for far greater physical distancing for both clients and staff,” Turning Points Collaborative Society executive director Randene Wejr said.

“This aligns with the provincial health officer’s recommendation around increased physical distancing.”

The curling club now houses 70 beds, each sectioned off into a 10-by-10 area to maximize distancing. Additional sanitization and portable hand-washing stations have been added to the facility and all staff have been equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, including masks and scrubs.

The site allows for in-house meals, with additional space for clients to sit further apart during meal times, plus increased laundry and shower capabilities, reducing the potential risk of virus transmission.

The larger site also allows for more staff to be on shift, while reducing the need for staff to travel from site to site.

“This plan is designed to keep the virus from being transmitted from employee to resident, employee to employee and from resident to employee,” Wejr said. “This is designed to keep all of us safe and healthy.”

Individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations have higher rates of health concerns and may be at greater risk if exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

READ MORE: North Okanagan company seeks help selecting charity

READ MORE: VIDEO: Shuswap family in isolation rises to musical challenge


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vehicle crashes through carport in West Kelowna

The driver has been taken to hospital with minor injuries

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Big White Ski Resort to offer rebate for pass holders after early closure

Next year’s pass will include a 20 per cent rebate

‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

The foundation’s president said all ticks that attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

Most Read