City of Vancouver declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus

Mar 18 2020, 12:11 pm

The City of Vancouver has announced additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as to better protect its residents.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Kennedy Stewart declared a state of emergency in Vancouver. Stewart says that a virtual council meeting will take place on Thursday morning during which he will ask City Council members to endorse and pass his recommendation.

“This declaration will give our City the tools it needs to move faster keep and residents and businesses safe,” he adds. “Each of us has a personal responsibility to keep the city safe.”

Declaring a state of emergency would allow the City to enforce greater surveillance over grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as to have more control over restaurants.

“It will allow us to monitor the situation in grocery stores and pharmacies to make sure that no one is buying more supplies than they need and allow us to take action to curtail this overbuying if necessary,” says Stewart.

“We have seen empty shelves and panic shopping in the last few days. This is unacceptable,” he adds. “There is no food or supply shortage but there is a serious problem with people hoarding and overbuying.”

The Mayor says that he will take action with local retailers if residents continue to hoard food and supplies.

Declaring a state of emergency will also give first responders and police officers more flexibility in deploying resources and enforcing public orders, as well as restrictions on businesses.

Most importantly, all residents were asked to “immediately limit their time in public places.”

“Stay home as much as you can and on the rare occasion that you need to leave home to get essentials, keep a safe distance between one and two metres from others,” says Stewart.

On Tuesday, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health declared that all bars, restaurants, and lounges would be closed on St. Patrick’s Day, as to contain the spread of coronavirus.

British Columbia Health Officials later ordered that all businesses in the province with primary liquor licences, including bars and nightclubs, close “effective immediately,” as they cannot meet social distancing requirements.

Stewart also says that despite the order, there were “many smaller restaurants stayed open with patrons inside.”

With coronavirus on the rise, BC public health authorities are reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.