About 13 Kelowna residents showed up to peacefully rally across the street from city hall on Friday (May 1) morning.
The residents are asking the city to re-open businesses, public facilities and parks so life can return to normal after regulations were put in place by the provincial health officer due to COVID-19
Debora Powell organized the event and said self-isolating at home has led to an increase in mental health issues for people, a rise in alcohol dependence and has been dangerous for those living in abusive homes.
While the virus has heavily impacted other cities, it has not been as present in Kelowna, said Powell. She believed this means the order to temporarily close businesses and have people stay inside is unnecessary.
“Numbers are showing, specifically in Kelowna, that we are a healthy city. And the numbers projected for this pandemic have not come to fruition. We did what they told us and for two months, we sat in our homes,” she said. “Now, it’s time for them to take a look at opening up the city so the healthy people can get back to some normalcy and get back to the businesses so we can try to recover.”
Powell stressed that a continuation of the current situation would lead to more mental health issues in the community.
“We need to shift our focus and we now need to flatten the mental health curve,” Powell added.
Another resident, Mona Niebergall, said the city needs to trust that people will know how to physically distance when out and about, and when businesses are re-opened.
“The rest of us can do social distancing properly, we can respect each other and we can still be safe, and we can still open up the city and have good mental health at the same time,” she said.