COVID-19: Vancouver City Council to vote for enforcement of emergency orders

Kennedy Stewart Official photo

VANCOUVER City Council will convene on Monday for a Special Council Meeting to vote on an amendment to Vancouver’s emergency powers bylaw that will include enforcement of orders. As directed by the provincial health officer, all businesses that remain open must ensure appropriate social distancing for staff and patrons. Businesses that do not comply with this requirement will be subject to closure and fines.   

In addition to previously-announced facilities and playground closures, the Vancouver Park Board will also on Sunday begin closing parking lots at high-traffic outdoor destinations. These parking lot closures will be in full effect overnight. Beaches and parks remain open for now but could be closed in the future if people continue to gather in groups at these locations.

“While many residents have responsibly kept two metres away from others in public, too many people still think the rules do not apply to them. So we’re done asking nicely,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. Our message is clear: Shut down, Stay put, Save lives.”

Residents are still encouraged to spend time outside, but only by themselves or with members of their household.  Residents must continue to maintain a two-metre distance between themselves and others in all public spaces and avoid congregating with friends or in groups.

On Friday, the City issued an order instructing all licensed premises to limit their services. Speaking about adherence to the order City Manager Sadhu Johnston said: “Over the weekend, City of Vancouver inspectors have been monitoring restaurants and compliance with the order to restrict service to take-out and delivery. Inspectors have visited approximately 600 establishments and have issued 13 orders to non-compliant operators. Thank you to all of those businesses that have complied and played their part in keeping Vancouver resident safe.”

A Special Council Meeting called by the Mayor under Part 14 of the Procedure By-law will take place at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 23. More details on the content of the order and what it means will be provided following the meeting.

The meeting will be convened by electronic means. Members of the public should watch the live stream rather than attend in person and can submit comments via the City’s website.

“These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” said Chief Darrell Reid, who is leading the City’s COVID-19 Task Force. “We are seeing people around the world die because of the spread of COVID-19. The only way we can stop this from happening in Vancouver is with the support and collaboration of our residents. We need to work together to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbours safe.”
 

The City said: “We appreciate there is a lot of information circulating at this time, and not all of it is coming from verified sources. All updates from the City of Vancouver will be noted within our news releases, on our website and our verified social feeds. Residents are encouraged to follow @CityofVancouver on Twitter to receive the latest updates on COVID-19 response.”

The City of Vancouver officially declared a local State of Emergency as a result of COVID-19 on March 19, allowing City staff to take additional measures to ensure it has the resources needed to maintain essential services and meet the demands of other agencies, including Vancouver Coastal Health. The City continues to work with public health officials and multiple partners on the COVID-19 response. All closures and service delivery information can be found on its website at vancouver.ca/covid19.