Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve around the world. A lot has changed in a short amount of time and health authorities have called for dramatic actions to be taken to slow and contain the spread of the virus.

Council and Administration’s top priority is the health and safety of our citizens, visitors and employees. The City has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Level 2 and is working through a business continuity strategy to maintain City services and continue providing a healthy and safe work environment for our employees.

In the North Okanagan, the Interior Health Authority (IHA) is the lead agency in response to the community impact of COVID-19. The City continues to take its direction from the Province of B.C. and Government of Canada.

Where can I find up-to-date COVID-19 information?

What is the City doing?

The City of Vernon has taken several actions to help slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the North Okanagan.

  • City recreation facilities are closed
  • City playgrounds and Pickleball courts are closed
  • City Council meetings and Public Hearings have been cancelled until further notice
  • Anyone who’s sick, or has been around someone who’s sick, or has traveled outside Canada within the last 14 days is not to enter a City facility
  • Members of the public are asked to call or email, instead of visiting a City facility (if possible)
  • Signage has been posted in all City facilities about proper handwashing techniques, and physical distancing
  • Apparatus has been installed in all City facilities to practice appropriate physical distancing at front counters
  • Increased disinfecting and cleaning measures are in place in all City facilities
  • In-person, City sponsored public engagement events have been cancelled
  • Public engagement activities are now taking place online (http://www.engagevernon.ca)
  • Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) has been provided to First Responders

What can I do?
We all have a role to play in containing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the impact on our healthcare system. Several orders have been announced by the Prime Minister and the Provincial Health Officer. In addition to following these orders, health authorities say there are several things we can do individually to help protect ourselves, our families and our community.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
  • Practice physical distancing, which means to keep 2 meters (6 ft) between yourself and others;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve, and not your hands;
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others; and
  • Wipe surfaces and objects (e.g., phones, desk tops, door handles, light switches) with disinfectant often.

FAQ's and Resources
Where can I find more information on COVID-19 in BC?

A lot of information has been provided by federal and provincial health authorities in a short amount of time. 

The BC Centre for Disease Control has established a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and is updating its website regularly. On this site you will find information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself and your family, and what to do if you suspect you have the virus. 

 

What does it mean to 'self-isolate' and 'self-monitor'?

Self-isolating

Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. You may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are at risk for developing the disease and passing it on to others. 

See the poster for self-isolation dos and don'ts:

  • Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. 
  • Ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order groceries and medication by phone or online.
  • Do not have visitors in your home except if they are providing care or delivering goods and supplies, and in that case, maintain a distance of 2 metres.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada if you have not developed symptoms. 

Self-monitoring

While you are self-isolating, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc. 

See the poster on self-monitoring:

  • Take and record temperature daily and avoid the use of fever reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much possible.
  • These medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19; if these medications must be taken, client should advise their healthcare provider.

(Source: BC Centre for Disease Control)

Where can I find resources for my business during this time?

Federal and Provincial support

Both the federal and provincial governments have provided resources to help businesses, directly through their organizations as well as through their partners listed below.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has provided the following information on its website: 

  • Business and economic support links
  • Education opportunities and updates
  • Remote working tools and information
  • Takeout, curbside and delivery options from local restaurants

Downtown Vernon Association

The Downtown Vernon Association has provided the following information on its website:

  • Updated information and guidelines from the federal government
  • A checklist prepared by Small Business BC regarding business continuity during COVID-19
  • Links to business support websites 

BC Economic Development Association

The BC Economic Development Association (BCEDA) has developed a shareable guide that is continually being updated with tools and resources to assist the BC businesses.

Destination BC

For our tourism partners, Destination BC has also gathered several resources to help with business response and recovery measures that are related to the COVID-19 situation.

Can I still visit City Hall or the Community Services Building?

All City recreation facilities are closed, but other City operated facilities remain open at this time. 

Members of the public are asked to call or email with their inquiries, and only visit City buildings if absolutely necessary.

The City is still open for business and staff are available to assist with inquiries, accept and process applications, accept payments and conduct inspections. Additional safety and cleaning protocols are in place and the number of people allowed in front counter areas will be limited in order to maintain proper physical distancing to protect the public and our employees.

If you are sick, have been around someone who's sick, or have traveled outside Canada within the last 14 days, please do not enter a City facility.

A complete list of City contacts is available on our website. 

Are City parks and playgrounds open?
  1. Are City parks and public spaces still open?

Yes. City parks, trails and public spaces (such as basketball courts, most tennis courts and the skate park) remain open for public use.

Playgrounds, Pickleball courts and areas with mixed courts (Pickleball and tennis) are closed until further notice due to high touch points and difficulty with physical distancing.

  1. Why are several outdoor spaces still open?

Our top priority is the health and safety of our community. In response to COVID-19, we are taking direction from provincial and federal health authorities.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer says it’s important to continue getting fresh air and exercise while practicing physical distancing. Therefore, these spaces are open so residents can get exercise and still have room to maintain physical distancing (at least 2m between people).

  1. Is the City monitoring these areas?

Yes. Bylaw officers are visiting these public areas during regular Bylaw Compliance hours and are talking with members of the public about physical distancing, what it means, and how to contain the spread of COVID-19.

  1. Can Bylaw officers issue fines or detain individuals for not practicing physical distancing? 

No. Bylaw officers are not allowed to issue fines or detain individuals under the Public Health Act. They are only allowed to provide information and warnings to individuals, and conduct preliminary investigations where provincial health orders may be contravened. For further action, Bylaw officers must forward information to the Public Health Authority.

  1. What do we need to remember when visiting public spaces?

We all have a part to play to keep our community safe.

Dr. Henry has been clear that when going outdoors, we should only be with people from our own household. If we come across people from other households, we must stay at least 2m away from them.

We must continue practicing sound hygiene, wash our hands often, and not touch our faces.

  1. Where can I get updates on the City’s response to COVID-19?

We are committed to keeping our community informed. For updates on our response to COVID-19, please visit www.vernon.ca/covid-19.

PDF version of Parks FAQ

Where can I find mental health and wellness resources?

While we are practicing physical distancing and spending more time at home, it’s vital that we still consider the mental health and wellness of ourselves and our families. The following resources are available if you’re looking for help to navigate stress or anxiety during this trying time:

Distress lines:

  • Mental Health Info Line: 1-800-661-2121

  • Interior Crisis Line: 1-888-353-2273

  • BC Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2433

  • HealthLink BC: 8-1-1

  • COVID-19 Info line: 1-888-COVID 19 (268-4319)