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The Town posts regular COVID-19 updates on this page. If you have any questions regarding the Town’s COVID-19 response that are not answered throughout this page, or if you have any suggestions for updates that you would like to see on this page, please email: email@example.com or call: 250-655-6900 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm).
Information updated as of Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 3:40 pm
We have reorganized many of the updates we've shared regarding the Town's COVID-19 response efforts and operations updates into easier-to-navigate pages accessible from our new COVID-19 Response Page. Look through the pages to learn more about the Town's Emergency Operations Centre, municipal services updates, ways to help, and more. Additional sections will be added in the coming days - be sure to check back regularly.
We will continue to post our daily updates to this newsroom page.
Virtual Discussion and Q&A Reminder
Don't forget to join Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith and Councillor Peter Wainwright for a virtual discussion and Q&A on Sunday, March 29 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. The event will be hosted on the video meeting platform called Zoom which is free to download. To access the event, go to: https://zoom.us/j/382543792. For more information, refer to the March 27, 2020 update below.
March 27, 2020
Virtual Discussion and Q&A with Mayor McNeil-Smith & Councillor Wainwright
Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith and Councillor Peter Wainwright will be hosting a virtual discussion and Q&A on Sunday, March 29 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. The event will be hosted on the video meeting platform called Zoom which is free to download. The discussion will provide updates to the community on the Town of Sidney’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a Q&A session.
Zoom allows up to 100 people to participate in the discussion. To access the event go to: https://zoom.us/j/382543792
If you are unable to gain access, Radio Sidney will be live streaming the event. Although you won’t be able to submit a question, you will be able to listen to the discussion. Tune into Radio Sidney at: http://radiosidney.ca/
Social Distancing in Parks and on Paths
As we start another weekend, we’d like to remind everyone that Town playgrounds, sport courts, and the skate park are closed. Parks & trails remain open, but please remember to practice social distancing and keep 2 metres away from those you encounter.
We’ve added additional signage asking those using the Town’s Lochside Pedestrian Path to use the upper path to walk southbound (towards Victoria) and to use the lower path to go northbound (towards Sidney). This will help pedestrians keep a safe distance from others using the pathways.
Mental Health Reminder
It’s normal to be worried about COVID-19 and what the future may hold. Stress, anxiety, and sadness are common responses to the disruption and isolation that many of us are experiencing. The Government of British Columbia has put together a list of tips and resources regarding mental health management during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This weekend, consider taking some time to focus on ways to manage any stress and anxiety we may be feeling. Some of the key things we can all do include:
- Reach out to friends and family
Social distancing is critical to help control the spread of the virus. But at the same time it can also create even greater feelings of isolation, loneliness and sometimes depression. Therefore use safe ways to connect, including picking up the phone and calling friends and family, connect with friends on-line and offer support to those who need it.
- Have calm conversations – especially when talking to children
- Practice self-care
All things that you can do to manage your stress, whether it’s going for walk in your neighbourhood, exercising, meditating or practicing deep breathing, will better prepare you to take care of yourself and others.
- Seek help when needed
You know your body and its signs of stress. If you are having trouble managing your mental health, call your healthcare provider or a support phone line and encourage those you love to do the same.
Refer to the Province's complete list for more information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf
Provincial Update – Support for the Arts Sector
On March 27, 2020 the Government of British Columbia announced support for the people and organizations in the arts sector. COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has had a significant impact on everyone, including those in the arts sector. Arts organizations responded to the orders, direction and recommendations from the provincial health officer, and showed leadership by cancelling events, performances and festivals to protect people’s health. The Province understands that this has had a significant impact on artists, their families and arts organizations.
Building on their COVID-19 Action Plan, the Province has developed a $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to be administered by the BC Arts Council. Operating and eligible project clients will receive a supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help them pay their bills. Starting in April 2020, the BC Arts Council will provide operating clients a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding to help with their cash flow. The Province is also extending application deadlines, relaxing reporting requirements and allowing organizations to use funding to cover immediate needs like rent and utilities.
Read the Province’s full statement here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020TAC0015-000577
March 26, 2020
Seniors Helpline: Call 2-1-1
- Through the United Way, you can call 2-1-1 or visit www.bc211.ca if you are a senior in need, or would like to volunteer with a senior in your community to check in on them or to help pick-up groceries/prescriptions. The helpline will take calls 7 days/week to help keep seniors safe in their homes.
- Beacon Community Services is also working to provide information and assistance to seniors and other vulnerable local residents by phone at 250-656-5537. If you know of any vulnerable members of our community looking for information or assistance, please pass this contact information along. If you are looking to volunteer during this time, please consider contacting Beacon Community Services regarding volunteering opportunities.
Provincial Update – Ministerial Orders Under the Emergency Program Act
Using the powers under the Emergency Program Act, the Provincial Minister of Public Safety issued a series of ministerial orders to ensure a coordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency. These include:
- Supply chain: Establishing a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to co-ordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in co-ordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.
- Protecting consumers: Banning the secondary resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, cleaning and other essential supplies; and restricting quantities of items purchased at point of sale.
- Enforcement: Enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.
- Travel: Ensuring all passenger and car-ferry services provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.
- Protecting B.C.’s most vulnerable: Making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.
- Coordination: Suspending local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the City of Vancouver; giving municipal councils the ability to hold more flexible meetings to expedite decisions; and coordinating potential use of local publicly owned facilities, like community centres, for self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing and distribution.
You can read the Province’s full statement at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0020-000568
Federal Update – Emergency Order Under the Quarantine Act
On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada’s Minister of Health announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.
This federal Emergency Order reinforces an existing British Columbia Provincial Health Order in place since March 17, 2020 which orders every person in British Columbia who has travelled outside Canada and returned on or after March 12 to self-isolate for 14 days.
The new federal emergency order was implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry by midnight on March 25. The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order. Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice social distancing and self-monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick.
You can read the full statement at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/03/new-order-makes-self-isolation-mandatory-for-individuals-entering-canada.html
BC Construction Safety Alliance Response to COVID-19
The BC Construction Safety Alliance has posted information regarding COVID-19 for the construction industry on their website. Information includes a resources & signage, info & useful links, FAQs, and mental health resources.
You can visit their website to access this information: https://www.bccsa.ca/
March 25, 2020
Western Section of Downtown Employee Parking Lot Temporarily Repurposed as Critical Supply Chain Rest Stop
As of March 26, 2020, the western section of the Downtown Employee/Public Parking Lot will be temporarily closed to allow for the set-up of a Town of Sidney Critical Supply Chain Rest Stop. Parking lot users are asked to please park in the eastern section of the parking lot. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the public’s patience and support during this time.
As a result of the COVID-19 situation, several local public restrooms and rest stops have closed. The Town of Sidney Critical Supply Chain Rest Stop will allow those who are delivering essential goods to our region during this time to find a space to rest and access restrooms and local food options.
The Critical Supply Chain Rest Stop will have a soft open on Thursday, March 26, 2020 and should be fully operational on Friday, March 27, 2020.
Utility Bill Payments
The Town of Sidney will not be applying penalties to any utility billings that remain unpaid at this time.
The next utility bill is scheduled to be mailed out in mid-April. At this time, we plan on issuing these bills, but will be doing so with a long due date (some date in the summer, to be determined). Depending on circumstances at that time, we may choose not to apply penalties for late payment at that time. We hope to issue the next bill as a way to assist with our cash flow; the more funds we have coming in, the better it will be for our 2020 operations. We will be inviting those customers who can pay at this time to please do so; for other customers, leniency will be applied to the extent possible.
We are also looking at ways to extend the property tax due date. We will share more information regarding property taxes over the next several weeks.
ICBC Autoplan Insurance Transactions Available
While public access to the Town of Sidney Driver Services' Building is restricted, there are some ICBC transactions that Driver Services' staff are now able to conduct over the phone. These transactions are:
- Policy changes
- Storage policies
- Temporary operating permits
Call Town of Sidney Driver Services at 250-656-0614 to access these services.
BC Ferries Update
In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.
BC Ferries crews have been – and continue to – take extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points. To support social distancing and reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease including COVID-19, all catering and retail services are closed until further notice.
BC Ferries are strongly advising passengers to stay in their vehicles, regardless of their car deck, during the crossing. If you must come up to the passenger decks, please maintain social distancing on board, and stay at least two metres away from employees.
Read their full statement here: https://www.bcferries.com/current_conditions/travel-advisory.html
Provincial Update – Support for Renters & Landlords
To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.
The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.
Read their full statement here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0048-000561
Federal Update – Canada Emergency Response Benefit
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the Government of Canada has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
Read their full statement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html
March 24, 2020
Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre Update
The Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre’s Director & Deputy Director provided a verbal COVID-19 update to Council at the March 23, 2020 Council meeting. This update includes a description of the Emergency Operations Centre and its functions, as well as the key areas upon which the EOC has been focused.
Mental Health Supports
It is normal to be worried about COVID-19. Stress, anxiety, and sadness are common responses to the disruption and isolation many of us are experiencing. The Government of British Columbia has put together a list of tips and resources to help us all manage COVID-19-related stress, anxiety and depression: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf
Ways the Public Can Help
- Practice social distancing – If you are sick, stay home. If you are able to stay home, please stay home. If you are out in public, keep a distance of 2 meters (6’) from other people.
- Do not flush wipes or paper towels. Even if they say they are flushable, wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and they form blockages in the pumps that keep our sewer system running.
- The Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank is in urgent need of donations. If you are able, please consider donating online at www.splfoodbank.com/donate or by phone 250-655-0679.
- Beacon Community Services is working to provide information and assistance to seniors and other vulnerable local residents by phone at 250-656-5537. If you know of any vulnerable members of our community looking for information or assistance, please pass this contact information along. If you are looking to volunteer during this time, please consider contacting Beacon Community Services regarding volunteering opportunities.
- Donate blood - visit www.blood.ca for more information.
Local Business Updates
The Sidney BIA is maintaining a list of updates from local businesses, including hour changes, closure notices, and delivery/online services: https://sidneybia.ca/sidney-business-operations-updates/
Local Facility Closures List
The following local care/retirement homes and medical facilities have limited access to the public:
- Sidney Care
- Sidney All Care Residence
- The Peninsula at Norgarden
- Amica Beechwood Village
- Rest Haven Lodge
- Shoreline Medical (offering telehealth visits only)
COVID-19 Contact Information
COVID-19 Medical Information:
- For people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who require assistance with other health issues, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1.
- The BC Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control have developed a Self-Assessment tool, which can help you determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Click here to access the Self-Assessment Tool.
COVID-19 Non-Medical Information:
- Provincial COVID-19 information:
- Call: 1-888-COVID-19 (1-888-268-4319) – available 7 days a week, 7:30 am to 8 pm
- Text: 604-630-0300
- Public Health Agency of Canada's COVID-19 information:
- Call: 1-833-784-4397
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information and updates, we recommend visiting the following websites for credible information:
March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020 Council Meeting Live-Stream
The March 23, 2020 Council Meeting will be live-streamed at 6 pm. The Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre’s Director & Deputy Director will be providing a verbal COVID-19 update at the start of the meeting.
COVID-19 Informational Poster
An informational poster regarding the Community Response to COVID-19 was posted on the main entrances of multi-residential stratas in Sidney today.
You can view and print this poster here if you would like a copy.
Supports for Businesses & Workers
On March 23, 2020, the Province announced the B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan, to build on the federal government’s COVID-19 economic plan and boost supports for British Columbians.
For information about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
For information about B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-takes-steps-to-support-people-businesses-during-covid-19-pandemic
March 21, 2020
Update from the Province
British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer recently issued 2 new orders:
- On Saturday, March 21, 2020, BC’s Provincial Health Officer ordered personal service establishments (such as barbershops, salons, nail estheticians, health spas, massage parlours, tattoo shops and others) to close until further notice. Click here to read the full statement.
- On Friday, March 20, 2020, BC’s Provincial Health Officer ordered that all restaurants can only offer take-out and/or delivery services, in order to ensure proper social distancing. Click here to read the full statement.
You can access a list of other BC Provincial Health Orders regarding COVID-19 on the Provincial Health Officer's page. These include:
- Businesses with liquor primary licences, such as bars, pubs and night clubs, must close until further notice
- Any person who has travelled outside Canada and returned on or after March 12 must self-isolate for 14 days.
- Public gatherings of more than 50 people – indoors or outdoors – must be cancelled
March 20, 2020
Playgrounds, Sport Courts, and Skate Park Closure
As of March 20, 2020, the Town of Sidney is closing municipal playgrounds, basketball, tennis, and beach volleyball courts, and the skate park until further notice. The Town is taking this action to protect public health and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Municipal parks remain open – we encourage residents to continue to enjoy our local parks and natural areas while also maintaining appropriate social distance from others (2 meters/6 feet).
March 19, 2020
A number of local businesses are offering additional services to help our community during this time. In addition to online shopping and delivery options, some local grocery stores and pharmacies are offering special store hours for seniors, people with disabilities, and those most vulnerable to shop for their groceries. Visit www.sidneybia.ca/sidney-business-operations-updates/ for more information.
Canada and the United States have agreed to temporarily restrict non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border. Travellers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism.
Government of Canada travel advisories can be found at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
March 18, 2020
Sidney/North Saanich RCMP Restricts Front Counter Services
As of March 18, 2020, the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP front counter services are restricted. For non-emergency service including deliveries during this period, please phone the detachment at: 250-656-3931. The Sidney/North Saanich RCMP apologizes for this inconvenience and appreciates your support as we work together in keeping our community safe.
A reminder: public access to all Town of Sidney municipal buildings is restricted until further notice. This includes the Town Hall, Driver Services, the Community Safety Building, and the Public Works & Parks Yard. We have taken this measure to ensure the health of our staff and the public as we all work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Click here to read more about this measure.
As of March 17, 2020, British Columbia has suspended Kindergarten to Grade 12 classes. Teachers and schools will be developing plans for continuing instruction, outside of the classroom. More information will be shared when it becomes available. Read more about it here: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/childcare-schools
Emergency Management staff met with the three major grocery stores in Sidney and reviewed social distancing best practices. Emergency Management staff strongly recommended the following measures be considered:
- Create visible barriers to encourage physical distancing, such as using tape to mark the floor at check outs for appropriate spacing when in line (2m/6ft)
- Display signage around stores with messaging pertaining to washing hands, cough and sneeze into arms, do not touch face while shopping, maintain 2m/6ft distance between patrons, accessibility to sanitizer, etc.
- Increase sanitizer accessibility for staff and patrons. Reconsider locations to increase visibility and if possible increase quantity
- Increase cleaning of stores and their facilities
- Increase cleaning of carts, baskets, wicket dividers
We would like to share our appreciation to Sidney’s business community for all the measures they have taken to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
We would like to remind the public that following social and physical distancing measures is a critical step to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We thank everyone for their cooperation and patience during this time.
Support for Businesses & Workers
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced more support for workers and businesses through Canada’s COVID19 Economic Response Plan. Learn more at: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
The Sidney BIA is compiling information and resources for businesses on their website: https://sidneybia.ca/COVID-19/
The Sidney BIA is also maintaining a list of updates from local businesses, including hour changes, closure notices, and delivery/online services: https://sidneybia.ca/sidney-business-operations-updates/
British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer has declared a public health emergency. This declaration allows the provincial health officer to facilitate an even faster response to the rapidly changing situation and enact further measures to protect British Columbians. The provincial health officer has issued the following orders:
- Effective immediately, businesses with liquor primary licences, such as bars, pubs and night clubs, must close, as they are unable to adequately meet the requirements of social distancing. Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of one to two meters between patrons will need to move to take-out and delivery models.
- Public gatherings of more than 50 people – indoors or outdoors – must be cancelled.
You can read their full statement here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0089-000505
March 17, 2020
EOC Level 2
As of March 17, 2020, the Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is operating at a Level 2. Upgrading to a Level 2 allows for additional advance planning, so that in the event mitigation strategies are not successful, response plans to anticipated events can be immediately implemented.
The Town’s Level 2 EOC includes a Recovery Planning Section Chief position. This position allows the EOC to work closely with the Sidney Business Improvement Area (SBIA) and the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce to actively participate in the business recovery planning process.
The Sidney BIA has prepared a page for local businesses to access resources, including checklists, guides, and business continuity plan templates specifically geared towards the COVID-19 situation. Click here to access the Sidney BIA's COVID-19 Resources for Businesses page.
In light of the current situation, many Sidney businesses have been modifying their hours of operations, enacting indefinite closure notices, limiting public access, and developing delivery/online services. For a list of updates from local businesses, visit the Sidney BIA's Business Updates Page.
Additionally, the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is dedicating their Facebook page to sharing updates and information from local Saanich Peninsula businesses. Click here to access the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page.
Don't flush Sanitary Wipes or Paper Towels
Please do not flush wipes or paper towels. Even if they say they are flushable, wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and they can form blockages to the pumps that keep our sewer system running.
The Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and our regional, provincial, and federal public health agencies are all reinforcing the message of Social Distancing. If you are able to stay home, please stay home. This relates to physical distancing as well – if you are out in public, maintain a distance from others of approximately 2 meters.
A reminder: all public gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited in British Columbia.
Washington State Ferries Service Suspended
Washington State Ferries has announced that they are suspending the start of the Anacortes/Sidney schedule until at least April 28, 2020. The Town will continue regular discussions with Washington State Ferries regarding the Sidney/Anacortes route, and we will communicate any future updates.
March 16, 2020
This includes the Town Hall, Driver Services, the Community Safety Building, and Public Works & Parks Yard. We have taken this measure to ensure the health of our staff and the public as we all work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
We are continuing municipal operations to the fullest extent possible during this time and prioritizing essential services. Our standard departmental services will be carried out by phone, email, and through our website. You can find Department contact information on our Contact Us page and access our online services on our Online Services page. Response times to inquiries may take longer than usual - we appreciate your patience during this time.
Please note: we will be live-streaming all future Council & Committee of the Whole meetings, including the March 16, 2020 Committee of the Whole & Special Council meetings, beginning at 6:00 pm. The link to the live-stream will be posted on our Council Agendas & Minutes page.
During this time, bill payments can be:
- Paid online at MySidney;
- Dropped in the letterbox at the Town Hall;
- Paid at your financial institution
March 16, 2020 Update from the Government of British Columbia
Click here to access the full statement.
- Visits to long-term care facilities are restricted to essential visits only
- A new dedicated phone service has been created for non-medical information about COVID-19
- For non-medical information, call: 1-888-COVID-19 (1-888-268-4319)
- For medical information (for people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who require assistance with other health issues), call: 8-1-1
- All public gatherings of more than 50 people are now prohibited in British Columbia. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events
March 16, 2020 Update from the Government of Canada
Click here to access the full statement.
- All Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country until further notice
- Canadian travellers urged to return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available
- All travellers to Canada are to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry, with exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people
- To protect Canadians and to ease burdens on our health care system and frontline workers, as of March 18, 2020 at 12:01 am, the Government of Canada will, for air travel specifically, bar foreign nationals from all countries (except the United States) from entering Canada. Screening measures at airports will also be strengthened.
March 13, 2020
The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are recommending against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Effective March 12, 2020, the Government of British Columbia is asking anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon their return.
Additionally, the BC Government is directing event organizers to cancel any gathering larger than 50 people (updated to reflect the new order issued by the BC Government on March 16, 2020). This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events.
Earlier today, the Government of Canada announced that the start of the cruise ship season has been deferred from April 2, 2020 to July 1, 2020 at the earliest. This deferral applies to cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members. It does not apply to smaller vessels or ferries at this time.
The Town continues to monitor recommendations from Transport Canada and regional, provincial, and federal public health agencies regarding ferry travel. We are in discussions with Washington State Ferries regarding the Sidney/Anacortes route, and we will provide an update as soon as we have confirmed details.
Effective March 13, 2020 at 4:30 pm and until further notice, SHOAL Community Centre in Sidney, will be closed to the public. Beacon Community Services announced the closure as a precautionary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Town’s Emergency Operations Centre and Town staff continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak through daily updates from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), Emergency Management BC, and senior levels of government.
For additional information and updates, we recommend visiting the following websites for credible information:
March 12, 2020
The Town of Sidney has been closely monitoring and pre-planning for the COVID-19 situation since the initial outbreak. As we move forward in responding to the current COVID-19 situation, our key message is "Preparation, Not Panic."
The Town is taking the following measures to reduce the risk to our staff and the public:
- Adopted increased cleaning protocols at our facilities, including regularly sanitizing workstations, counters and phones
- Directed Town staff to stay home if they are sick
- Posted signage at the Town Hall to remind staff and members of the public to wash their hands frequently - this is still our best defense against contracting and passing along the virus
- Discontinued handshaking
- Adopted "social distancing" - maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet/2 meters) from others when possible
- Postponed non-essential Committee meetings
- Live-streaming of Council and Committee of the Whole meetings will begin as soon as possible - we will encourage the public to watch meetings via the live stream
- Sidney's Emergency Program Coordinator will provide a regular update report to Council
Additionally, the Town of Sidney activated a Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on March 12, 2020. The EOC will:
- Continue to closely monitor the situation
- Provide public notifications
- Work closely with other relevant agencies (VIHA, nursing homes, Washington State Ferries, etc.)
- Provide guidance to staff
- Promote Business Continuity Planning within the business community
- If you are interested in additional information about Business Continuity Planning, including a Business Continuity Planning template, please visit our Business Continuity Planning page.
March 4, 2020
A novel coronavirus is causing an infectious disease called COVID-19 that has spread to many countries around the world. The Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and the BC Centre for Disease Control are working with many partners to monitor, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 public health situation.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. A newly discovered coronavirus causes a respiratory disease called COVID-19.
What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
How is the Virus Spread?
Coronavirus may be contracted through liquid droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus enters the body through the eyes, nose or throat if you are in close contact with an infected individual. It can also be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough. This is why it is important to cough or sneeze into your arm and wash your hands regularly.
The virus is not known to be airborne (e.g. transmitted through the particles floating in the air), and it is not something that comes in through the skin.
How do we Lower the Risk of Spreading the Virus?
The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends following regular cold and flu season practices to prevent the spreading of the virus. This includes:
- Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water
- When sneezing or coughing, use your arm to cover your nose and mouth
- Stay home if you are ill
- Avoid others who are ill
- Avoid touching your face
Being prepared for the possibility that schools, events, businesses and organizations may face potential disruptions if the coronavirus spreads will result in less of a disturbance if they occur. Employees and students should be encouraged to remain home if they feel unwell. Having alternative arrangements for child care or options for working from home in place will ensure, as a community, we lower our risk of potentially spreading the coronavirus.
Travelers should keep apprised of affected countries. If you have recently traveled and feel ill, contact your primary care provider, local public health office, or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing and have recently returned from travelling in an affected area or have been exposed to the someone who has COVID-19, avoid contact with others. Contact a health care provider as soon as possible. If you are going to visit a health care provider, call them ahead of time so they can arrange for you to be assessed safely.
If you are unsure about what to do or have concerns or questions, contact HealthLinkBC by calling 8-1-1 at any time, or contact your health care provider. Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a COVID-19 telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.
Participating in unjust discrimination is not a method of defense against the coronavirus. The Town of Sidney and its residents pride themselves on the community we share, and estranging members of our community will only create challenges in assisting one another to stay as healthy as possible.
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