Delta has activated the city’s emergency plan and opened its Emergency Operations Centre to “address concerns posed by COVID-19.”
According to a release issued Friday afternoon (March 13), the city has made containing the spread of the virus a top priority and is following the regular updates and recommendations as provided by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BC Centre for Disease Control while working with local first responders, the Fraser Health Authority and the Delta School District, among other partners.
“The City of Delta has an extensive pandemic plan and we have the ability to adjust city services on the advice of health authorities if, and when, needed,” Mayor George Harvie said in a statement. “Our number one priority is the health and well-being of Delta residents. We have been ramping up our plans over the past month as we continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19.”
Steps taken by city staff so far include increasing their cleaning protocols to ensure that high-touch surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected frequently and having hand sanitizer available in all municipal facilities.
The city is following the direction of the Provincial Health Officer by cancelling all gatherings larger than 250 people, including the official opening for the new North Delta Centre for the Arts on April 4. According to Friday’s release, staff are in the process of reviewing upcoming public gatherings and meetings and will be rescheduling non-essential sessions. Residents are encouraged to follow the city’s social media channels and check delta.ca for up-to-date information regarding these cancellations.
(The North Delta Reporter has asked the city for a list of postponed and cancelled events, and will update this story as more information comes available.)
Otherwise, all Delta facilities, programs and services remain open at this time. Delta will continue to offer regular recreational programming — including spring break programs — as participation is below the 250-person threshold.
The city says it is taking steps to encourage social distancing, including limiting the maximum number of people in dryland fitness classes to 12 and postponing training sessions, but will be offering full refunds or extended fitness passes to anyone wishing to withdraw from a recreation program or cancel a rental due to concerns about COVID-19.
For more information about the city’s response to COVID-19 and its impact to city programs, services and events — plus precautions to take to lessen the chance of contracting the virus as well as links to the Fraser Health, Health Canada, HealthLink BC and BC Centre for Disease Control websites — visit delta.ca/coronavirus.
On Friday, the province announced 11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., bringing the total to 64. All the new cases are within the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced Friday that the B.C. government’s ban on gatherings with more than 250 attendees will be upgraded to a provincial order, which will allow organizers to recoup cancellation costs through insurance policies.
But despite all these measures, Henry said that British Columbians shouldn’t fear getting outdoors ahead of spring break so long as people maintain safe distances, wash their hands regularly and stay clean.
“We’re not talking about shutting down society here,” she said. “It’s still very safe today in B.C. – all across B.C. – to go out, to go shopping, to go to restaurants.”
— with files from Ashley Wadhwani