COVID-19 update: Preparing for a safe Easter long weekend

April 8, 2020
News

Over the last few weeks, a lot has changed. Our routines have been disrupted and we’ve all been asked to make significant changes in our lives to protect ourselves and each other.

As we prepare for the Easter long weekend, many people will be spending time apart from loved ones and some traditions may be put on hold.

“We know this weekend may be difficult for many,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “A lot of us are used to spending long weekends with extended family or close friends. Many of us had plans to travel over Easter. We know this time apart may be tough but it is a must.

“This week, Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer, gave us some good news,” said Mayor Cumming. “She said the actions we are taking – maintaining our physical distance and staying home as much as possible – appear to be making a difference. We need to stay the course. We need to stay apart from one another, even during this holiday weekend. But again, we need to stay connected.”

Mayor Cumming emphasized the necessity of physical distancing by saying, “Instead of hosting a gathering of people – or visiting someone else’s home – consider taking part in a virtual gathering. Call, email or video chat with friends and family. Check in on your neighbour. Post a note of encouragement to a First Responder or healthcare worker. This is the time we need to celebrate each other and acknowledge how we are coming together as a community and making a difference.”

Dr. Henry has asked all B.C. residents to cancel non-essential travel, particularly to small communities or remote areas where people may have family or vacation homes, as these places have less capacity to respond to medical emergencies.

Further, for those who observe religious celebrations during this time of year, Dr. Henry has asked everyone to conduct religious gatherings virtually and use technology to fill the gap where people would normally gather face-to-face.

To help show our appreciation for the work our First Responders and healthcare workers are doing to care for and protect all of us, the City of Vernon is participating in the #WhiteHeartsforVJH project. Look for white hearts at City facilities with messages of thanks. You can also join in by downloading, printing and posting white hearts with messages of encouragement for frontline workers: www.WhiteHeartsforVJH.ca.

City Ambassadors in parks

With spring officially here, we are anticipating many people will want to get outdoors this long weekend. City parks, trails and many public spaces remain open to encourage outdoor activity in places where physical distancing can still be maintained.

If you visit places such as Polson Park, Kin Beach Park, or Marshall Fields (among others), you may see City of Vernon Ambassadors riding bikes in bright green t-shirts, encouraging people to keep their physical distance and enjoy our city in a safe and healthy manner.

Ambassadors will be in teams of two and will be spending time in public spaces between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Please only visit outdoor spaces with people from your own household. If you come across people from another household, maintain at least 2m (6ft) between each other. Please do not gather in groups.

Campfires

With warmer temperatures sometimes comes a desire to have a campfire in the backyard. Open burn permits were cancelled in Vernon last month. However, small campfires are still allowed so long as they adhere to the Good Neighbour Bylaw and Fire Services Bylaw.

If you choose to have a campfire this weekend, please remember:

  • Only burn dry, seasoned wood
  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Be mindful of smoke’s impact on neighbours; don’t allow dense smoke or noxious odours
  • Keep water or a hand tool nearby at all times when the campfire is lit
  • Ensure the fire is fully doused before walking away at the end of your time outside

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