Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

‘Everyone needs to do better’: Kelowna Mayor on city’s rising COVID-19 numbers

Mayor Colin Basran said it’s up to residents and visitors to listen to Dr. Henry and follow the rules

Don’t come to Kelowna and act like the city is a COVID free bubble, where you can behave however you want.

That is the messaging from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the city that saw case numbers top more than 70 on Tuesday, July 22.

Most of the cases have been linked to those in their 20s and 30s who attended private parties.

READ MORE: Kelowna COVID-19 cluster identified after private parties

Basran said as the cases continue to climb following the initial cluster outbreak at the start of July, residents have been expressing outrage and concern.

He said some residents believe that Kelowna should not be allowing visitors to the community or that Bernard should not have been shut down to traffic and opened to patio expansions.

“As far visitors go that isn’t a decision to be made by the City of Kelowna, that is a decision to be made by Dr. Bonnie Henry. As of right now, she is still OK with visitors from across the province, visiting here,” he explained. “She also said there are no plans to restrict travel between provinces.”

Now, it’s up to residents and visitors to listen to Dr. Henry’s advice when it comes to social distancing and slowing the spread of COVID-19, said Basran.

He called it a waiting game to see if people will in fact listen and act respectively, so the curve can be flattened.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Tourism Kelowna encourages community to be safe and responsible

If residents and visitors can’t follow the directions of Dr. Henry, there could be changes to Phase Three or the possibility of moving back to Phase Two. Although Basran said, that Dr. Henry did not share what a modified Phase Three would look like.

“I know a lot of people really don’t want that (to go back to Phase Two). So, what happens next depends on residents and visitors and how they behave,” said Basran. “Everyone needs to do better.”

And, while some Kelowna locals might be pointing the finger at visitors for the cause of the spread of the virus, Basran said some residents are not adhering to Dr. Henry’s guidelines.

“My message to residents is we play just as big of a part here in flatting the curve. Continue to be vigilant and continue to do the things we need to get back to where we were. If we do that we can continue to balance the needs of dealing with this health care crisis, but also allow those who are dependant on tourism to make a living.”

The mayor met with Dr. Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Interior Health on July 17 to discuss the recent coronavirus exposures in Kelowna.

“The biggest thing (we discussed) was how to get the message out to the 20 to 29 year old demographic, to behave better if they are going to visit here,” he said. “Likely they are not using traditional media as sources of information, so how do we reach them.”

Basran said the message needs to be clear that it is OK to visit Kelowna, but everyone has to be responsible and act as if they were in their home town.

“They need to act as if the person or group next to them has it, so act accordingly. This is not the time to visit Kelowna and meet new people, stick with the people you know and don’t interact with the people you don’t.”

READ MORE: Province mobilizes influencers to get COVID-19 messaging out to young people in Kelowna

During a press conference on Tuesday, July 21, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix stated that the province is turning to social media influencers to share the message about COVID-19 best practices, in the hopes of targeting the 20 to 30 year old demographic.

“I’m so proud, and you’ll see it on Instagram, the work of different people from all walks of life, from people involved in fitness to food to tourism to community activities who are posting on Instagram right now to get that message out,” Dix said

As of Wednesday, July 22, more than 1,000 British Columbians are self-isolating due to being linked to Kelowna community exposures.

B.C. recorded 34 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and no additional deaths.

READ MORE: WorkSafeBC reports more than 300 violations of COVID-19 safety rules

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

A man and woman, both 33 and from Kelowna, were arrested on Postill Lake Forest Service Road in possession of two stolen vehicles Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna duo arrested with stolen vehicles after ‘brief’ bicycle getaway attempt

A man and a woman were arrested on a forest service road on numerous pending charges

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

People in Kelowna’s City Park on May 18, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Search crews looking for missing diver in Okanagan Lake near Kelowna’s City Park

At around 2:50 p.m., RCMP received reports of a diver missing.

The future of the Okanagan Lake watershed land use will be subject of a new study supported by a $300,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation. (Contributed)
Grant to help develop Okanagan Lake protection strategy

Study receives $300,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

COVID-19 virus. (Black Press Media file)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Kelowna retirement home

The outbreak at Sandalwood Retirement Resort was initially announced by Interior Health on April 23

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) handed out fines to two anglers on Shuswap Lake who were both casting more than one line, in violation of provincial regulations, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (COS photo)
Conservation officers snag Shuswap anglers for unlawful fishing

Two anglers were given $150 fines for casting two lines at once, against provincial regulations

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lynda Saundry, born 1961, is charged with the murder of North Okanagan resident Barry Jones in July 2020. Saundry will appear in Vernon court May 17, 2021, to fix a date for a preliminary inquiry. (Facebook public photo)
North Okanagan murder suspect to be tried by judge and jury

Lynda Saundry is charged with the first-degree murder of Barry Jones in July 2020

Vernon Search and Rescue’s Legacy vessel is returning to Okanagan Lake for boating season, the society said Friday, May 14, 2021. (VSAR photo)
Vernon Search and Rescue vessel returns to Okanagan Lake

VSAR’s Legacy is back with a fresh coat of paint and some other upgrades

Most Read