COVID-19 updates & information

The City of Vernon’s top priority is the health and safety of our citizens, visitors and employees. In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in BC, the City of Vernon has implemented several new and updated measures to maintain City services, help contain the spread of infection in our community, 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 the COVID-19 virus. To help slow and contain the spread of COVID-19, the City continues to follow the direction and guidance of B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry), senior levels of government, WorkSafe BC, viaSport and the BC Recreation and Parks Association. 

 

Latest City updates on COVID-19

The City of Vernon has implemented several actions to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in the North Okanagan, as well as support our community during this difficult time. 

Downtown curbside pick-up locations

The City of Vernon has installed a number of 10-minute loading zones for curbside pick-up throughout the Downtown. These will be in place until May 31, 2021.

Curbside pick-up zones are intended for customers of nearby restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are utilizing curbside pick-up. If you need to stay longer than 10 minutes, please park elsewhere. 

Requests for additional curbside pick-up locations on other streets in the Downtown Business Improvement Area should be emailed to eng@vernon.ca.

Curbside pick-up zones are marked by signs and their parking metres have been bagged. The exact locations can be found on the City’s interactive map.

MAP OF LOCATIONS

Temporary Outdoor Commercial Uses Program

In recognition of current provincial COVID-19 guidelines for physical distancing, Council has approved temporary measures for businesses to expand commercial uses into adjacent public spaces.

Until October 31, 2021, businesses located within the downtown Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are able to expand their business operations onto sidewalks. Between March 1 - October 31, 2021, businesses located in the BIAs are also able to use a single on-street parking stall to create pop-up patios or for retail use. 

Further, businesses throughout the city that have adjacent private parking lots are allowed to expand their commercial uses in up to 25% of their required parking spaces until October 31, 2021.

To participate in the Temporary Outdoor Commercial Uses program, businesses are required to enter into a Use Agreement with the City and follow a set of guidelines, but will not need to get a permit or pay a fee.

Use of public parking spaces and sidewalks 

Process for using public parking space or sidewalks:

  1. Download and review guidelines
  2. Complete Licence of Occupation, including site plan (not table layout just an outline of space to be used)
  3. Submit Licence of Occupation, site plan and proof of insurance by email to buildingcounter@vernon.ca or in person at the Community Services Building 

Use of private parking lots

Process for use of private parking lots:

  1. Download and review guidelines
  2. Complete Use Agreement, including site plan (not table layout just an outline of space to be used)
  3. Submit use Agreement and site plan by email to buildingcounter@vernon.ca or in person at the Community Services Building 
Financial relief measures for residents and businesses

2020 Property Taxes: Council amended the 2020 property tax structure to provide assistance for residential property owners. The changes are as follows:

  • 2020 City of Vernon property taxes are due July 2, 2020, with a 10% penalty applied to unpaid taxes as of October 1, 2020;
  • An automatic, one-time municipal tax grant was established for residential property owners, equivalent to 3.2% of the municipal portion of the 2020 Property Tax Notice; and
  • There will be no change in the proportion of tax revenue between property classes from 2019 to 2020.

2020 First quarter utility bills: Council waived all interest charges for the first quarterly utility billing period (which runs January to March 2020).  Utility bills for this period were mailed in April. Normally, the due date for the first quarter bill would be mid-May, after which any unpaid balances would be subject to interest charges. However, the waiving of interest charges for this period provided more time for customers to pay their bill if they needed it.  

Metered and two-hour parking: Council suspended bylaw enforcement of on-street metered and two-hour parking zones until July 1, 2020, with the exception of enforcement related to safety issues. The temporary change was intended to encourage people to use the Downtown and access businesses that remained open.

Recreation facilities, playgrounds and outdoor spaces

City of Vernon outdoor facilities are open. Indoor facilities are now available for booking. As updates and new information are provided by the Provincial Health Officer and viaSport, some recreation programming and activities may need to be temporarily paused, cancelled or updated.

Greater Vernon Recreation Services is working closely with viaSport, the BC Recreation & Parks Association, and local organizations to develop, review and update a framework for safely participating in activities, programs and recreation opportunities in a way that will allow for participation while meeting the criteria that BC's Provincial Health Officer has outlined. Please visit our Recreation Services pages to learn about our Safe Reopening and our programming updates.

City Hall and other City facilities

In accordance with the order of the Provincial Health Officer, members of the public are required to wear a non-medical mask to cover their mouth and nose while inside all City-operated facilities.

City Hall, the Community Services Building, Bylaw Compliance Office, Community Safety Office, and City Operations are open to the public. Apparatus has been installed in all City facilities to maintain proper physical distancing between staff and members of the public, as well as between staff members. Hand washing stations, plexiglass dividers, marked positions for queuing, and increased cleaning protocols have been put in place.

Signage has also been installed at all City facilities to provide information on COVID-19, how to practice physical distancing and reminders about how we can keep each other safe. 

Members of the public are asked to call or email instead of visiting a City facility, if possible. 

If you are sick, have been around someone who is sick, or have travelled outside the country within the last 14 days, please do not enter a City facility.

Making payments at City facilities

To help reduce touch points in the community, the City is asking customers to avoid cash and coin payments, and instead use options such as cheque, Interac or credit card. We recognize this may not be possible for all customers, but we do strongly encourage the following forms of payment at our facilities:

  • City Hall or Community Services Building: cheque or Interac
  • Bylaw Office: cheque, Interac, or online with Visa or Mastercard if paying a ticket
  • Vernon Regional Airport: cheque, Interac, Visa or Mastercard
City Council meetings and public hearings

On December 7, 2020, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) extended a health order which prohibits in-person events and community-based gatherings across the province, with the intention of helping to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As part of the PHO order, members of the public (including the media) are prohibited from attending City Council meetings and public hearings.

In accordance with this province-wide directive, the City of Vernon is reminding the public about opportunities to view Council meetings electronically and how individuals may continue to participate in upcoming public hearings, through written submissions.

The City of Vernon video records all open Council meetings and public hearings and makes them available on the City’s website. The Regular Council meeting and public hearing scheduled for December 14, 2020, will be available by Noon on December 15.

During the December 14 public hearing, City staff will make presentations on the applications before Council. All written submissions received by the Corporate Officer by 3:00 p.m. that day will be read into the record and posted on the City’s website at www.vernon.ca/publichearings. Council will then recess the meeting until January 11, 2021.

In response to the health order, the City has temporarily extended the public hearing process to provide an opportunity for individuals to view the meeting online, view the written submissions regarding the applications, and provide additional written comment prior to the January 11 meeting. Written comments must be received by the Corporate Officer by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 7, 2021. Written submissions can be emailed to .

The City will continue this process until the Provincial Health Officer rescinds or amends the order to allow in-person attendance at public hearings again.

Vernon Regional Transit

The following information has been provided by BC Transit.

In accordance with the order of the Provincial Health Officer, members of the public are required to wear a non-medical mask to cover their mouth and nose while using public transit.

In addition to the mandatory face coverings policy, Vernon Regional Transit has implemented the following protocols:

  • Enhanced cleaning on buses and at BC Transit facilities.
  • Communication to staff and customers about physical distancing procedures.
  • Limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing.
  • Enhancing the red line for passengers to stand behind.
  • Vinyl panels on light duty buses.
Bylaw compliance and public health orders

On March 26, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General announced that under section 9 (1) of the Emergency Program Act, Bylaw enforcement officers are to provide assistance “as may be required for the purposes of enforcing public health orders.”

According to the Order, the assistance provided by Bylaw officers may include:

  • Monitoring facilities and areas closed to the public by a public health order;
  • Providing warnings, information and advice to businesses and members of the public in respect of public health orders, including warnings to businesses and members of the public who may be acting in contravention of a public health order;
  • Providing health officers with information in respect of potential contraventions of a public health order.

Under the Order, Bylaw officers are not authorized to:

  • Detain an individual as a result of a contravention or suspected contravention of a public health order, or
  • Issue a fine or penalty, including an administrative penalty, under the Public Health Act.

If Bylaw officers observe a possible contravention of a public health order (such as a large gathering of people), they may provide members of the public with education and verbal warnings, but then must report the possible contravention to the Provincial Health Authority for any further action.

Further details on Ministerial Order No. M082 are available here: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/mo/mo/2020_m082.

Building inspections

Members of the public are asked to call or email, and ONLY come in to a City facility to drop off materials that are not practical to email, make a payment, or pick up a building permit.

In order to protect our Building Inspectors:

  • Building inspections continue, except for inspections that occur in a finished or occupied building.
  • Screening questions will be asked at the time of scheduling inspections to ensure adequate physical distancing measures are in place.
  • In accordance with requirements of the Provincial Health Officer, building inspectors will be wearing masks while conducting business and when appropriate physical distancing (2m) cannot be maintained.
Public engagement activities

In-person, City sponsored public engagement events have been cancelled until further notice. 

We encourage you to visit our online public engagement hub, www.engagevernon.ca, to learn about current engagement opportunities and upcoming projects. 

Online City services available for use

Council and Administration are encouraging residents to use online services, telephone calls, or email to contact City staff whenever possible. Online City services include:

COVID-19-related news updates

View all recent City of Vernon notices and media releases.

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

Where can I find reliable COVID-19 information?
COVID-19 Non-health information

1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319)
This phone line is open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST

COVID-19 Health information

Government of B.C. news updates
Government of Canada news updates
BC COVID-19 Support App

Download the BC COVID-19 App for updates, critical alerts, a self-assessment tool and resources from public health.

Canada COVID-19 Support App

Download the Canada COVID-19 App to track your symptoms, receive the latest updates, and access trusted resources.

Resources for local businesses and workers
Temporary Outdoor Commercial Uses

In recognition of current provincial COVID-19 guidelines for physical distancing, Council has approved temporary measures for businesses to expand commercial uses into adjacent public spaces.

Until October 31, 2021, businesses located within the downtown Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are able to expand their business operations onto sidewalks. Between March 1 - October 31, 2021, businesses located in the BIAs are also able to use a single on-street parking stall to create pop-up patios or for retail use. 

Further, businesses throughout the city that have adjacent private parking lots are allowed to expand their commercial uses in up to 25% of their required parking spaces until October 31, 2021.

Businesses are required to enter into a Use Agreement with the City and follow a set of guidelines, but will not need to get a permit or pay a fee.

Use of public parking spaces and sidewalks 

Process for using public parking space or sidewalks:

  1. Download and review guidelines
  2. Complete Licence of Occupation, including site plan (not table layout just an outline of space to be used)
  3. Submit Licence of Occupation, site plan and proof of insurance by email to buildingcounter@vernon.ca or in person at the Community Services Building 

Use of private parking lots

Process for use of private parking lots:

  1. Download and review guidelines
  2. Complete Use Agreement, including site plan (not table layout just an outline of space to be used)
  3. Submit use Agreement and site plan by email to buildingcounter@vernon.ca or in person at the Community Services Building 
BC's Restart Plan

The Government of British Columbia has announced BC's Restart Plan - a four-phase approach for the recovery stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes guidelines to help us keep each other safe and continue suppressing the transmission of the virus. 

You can find the full plan on the Province's website, including details on which sectors and facilities may reopen during each phase and how businesses can develop safe operation plans with WorkSafeBC.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is helping local businesses find resources and build connections to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. The Chamber is part of the #NOKTogether hub and Vision North Okanagan, and is a partner in programs such as RELAUNCH Vernon and #OKwegotthis.

Downtown Vernon Association

The Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) is helping Downtown businesses find resources and build connections to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. The DVA is part of the #NOKTogether hub and Vision North Okanagan, and has resources available on its website for employers and employees.

Community Futures North Okanagan

Community Futures North Okanagan (CFNO) is helping North Okanagan businesses find resources and build connections to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. Community Futures is part of Vision North Okanagan.

CFNO is also helping businesses with emergency loan funding. Find more information here.

Resources for seniors, mental health and wellness
Seniors information & support

Dial 211 if you are a senior looking for help (or are a volunteer willing to help).

BC 211 matches the needs of seniors who need support with non-medical essentials to volunteers in the community. Register at bc211.ca or call 211.

The service is available for seniors (65+) who need help with:

  • Grocery shopping and delivery
  • Meal preparation and delivery
  • Prescription pickup and delivery
  • Phone and/or virtual friendly visits

Mental health & crisis lines
  • Mental Health Info Line: 1-800-661-2121
  • Interior Crisis Line: 1-888-353-2273
  • BC Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2433
  • Kids' Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Canadian Mental Health Association

The Vernon branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is available to help with COVID-19 tips and resources.

Anxiety Canada

This website provides information and resources to help reduce anxiety, get a better night’s sleep, and manage uncertainty: Anxietycanada.com