Saanich councillors Zac de Vries, Judy Brownoff, Colin Plant, Nathalie Chambers and Ned Taylor (back row, left to right); Coun. Karen Harper, Coun. Susan Brice, Mayor Fred Haynes, and Coun. Rebecca Mersereau (front row, left to right). (Photo courtesy the District of Saanich)

Saanich business ‘unaltered’ amid COVID-19 concerns, council meetings to continue, mayor says

Fred Haynes says risk on Island remains low, no need for panic

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is urging residents to take precautions amid concerns about COVID-19 spreading but emphasizes that panic is unnecessary.

World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday and since then many large events have been cancelled and the province has advised against travelling outside of Canada.

By Thursday, the province had confirmed that seven more cases of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the total to 53 cases and one death.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Province bans large gatherings in B.C.

Council is “highly aware of the situation on COVID-19 and sees our responsibility to staff and residents,” Haynes said. He emphasized that cases of coronavirus on the Island are a concern but the risk remains low and there is no need for panic.

Haynes added that while he’s pleased with the current protocols, the District is keeping an eye on the situation and will continue to update residents.

According to a March 12 statement from the District, no municipal meetings, events or programs have been cancelled and no facilities have been closed. The municipality is reviewing it’s cleaning protocols and planning to sanitize high-contact surfaces in all municipal facilities more frequently. Staff will communicate any changes to residents.

READ ALSO: Canada will ban cruise ships with over 500 people from docking until July

On March 6, the District increased the Emergency Operations Centre – which acts as a communications hub –to a level two and has staffed it with existing municipal staff. This means front line workers have been drawn away from their regular duties, Haynes said. He’s asking residents to be patient with response times as the highest priority is health and wellness.

Aside from staff being moved to other operations, Saanich business is “unaltered” and no staff are working from home, Haynes noted.

As far as council meetings go, Haynes doesn’t see cancellations in the near future.

Meetings will continue for the time being and webcasts will be available as always, he said. Residents can opt to watch from home but are still welcome to attend the meetings in person as there is currently no rule prohibiting meeting attendance.

READ ALSO: University of Victoria cancels classes with more than 250 students, international travel

Haynes added that typically, more than 1,000 people watch council meetings online and with the opportunity to correspond with councillors at any time, residents can remain fully involved in local government no matter what.

Councillors, like residents, are being asked to avoid shaking hands, use hand sanitizer, practice cough etiquette and stay home when they feel ill. Chairs in the council chambers have also been spread out so they aren’t to close too one another, Haynes said.

Haynes is advising residents to keep an eye on the District of Saanich website for “to-the-minute information” and guidance.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusDistrict of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

COVID-19: Victoria hopes to provide financial relief through property taxes, utility bills

A number of city projects could be deferred in light of pandemic

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Greater Victoria donates 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags and more for those in need

Items placed in 72-hour quarantine before being distributed to help homeless self-isolate

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read