COVID-19: Statement from Mayor Victor Cumming on following health authority directives

April 8, 2020
News

A video version of this statement is available here

This is a critical time.

It is imperative that we all understand the City of Vernon fully supports the approach of Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Provincial Health Officer) and Dr. Theresa Tam (Chief Public Health Officer of Canada), to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in our region, province and country. We are explicitly following the directives set out by the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada. We do this to keep you safe.

We all wish there was a less socially and economically impactful prescription that could be applied to achieve the same result of containing the spread and devastation of COVID-19. But there is not. The assertion that there is an easier way to achieve the same outcome has no basis.  It is reckless to suggest so. Many lives would be at risk. Risks the City of Vernon will not take. This is the time for standing strong together, following the directives and not encouraging random dissent, which may place you and others at additional risk.

According to Dr. Henry, it appears BC is beginning to slow the spread of the disease here, because of the actions we are taking to maintain physical distance and stay home as much as possible. To understand the alternative, we look to other countries and regions that are struggling with large numbers of cases and many deaths that have been devastating to families, communities, healthcare workers, and their economies.

The more relaxed approach taken by Sweden (double the population of BC) has been suggested by some as a better way, but they now find themselves with more than 6 times as many cases as BC, 15 times more deaths, and the number of new cases daily are growing significantly. New Zealand (with a similar population to BC), on the other hand, has applied an even stricter social approach with excellent results.

The City of Vernon fully supports Dr. Henry’s Orders and directives for strict physical distancing, limiting the size of social gatherings, the temporary closure of non-essential services, schools, recreation facilities, inside seating of restaurants and pubs, and discouraging non-essential travel. This is the official directive of our Province. The City of Vernon is following these directives, and these directives will provide all of us with the best possible outcome from this pandemic.

Victor Cumming
Mayor, City of Vernon