The COVID-19 global pandemic is now affecting Prince Rupert.
Previous public health orders that banned more than 250 people from gathering have now been amended to order no more than 50 people to gather, Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer said in a press conference on March 16.
“I know that will have an impact on many people, but we have all seen that businesses and municipalities are taking responsibility and shutting down places where people are gathering. This is going to be important for the next few weeks,” Henry said. “We are asking one in B.C. to do their part and continue supporting each other.”
At the same press conference, Provincial Health Minister, Adrian Dix said he remained concerned about boarder crossings and the need to tighten access.
“It’s a strong view. It’s a strong message that visitors from the U.S.A. not come to British Columbia. Don’t come, ” Dix said, “At this moment it is the wrong thing to do.”
Two cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health Region were announced at a press conference on March 14. It was not stated where in the Northern Health region the two cases reside.
“Two of the people that we announced earlier this week, who were in Vancouver Coastal Health, they actually reside in Northern Health. Under strict protocols, they drove themselves home. So, they are now in self isolation in Northern Health,” Bonnie Henry, doctor and provincial health officer, said.
“We will not, as a health care system able to disclose information,” Eryn Collins, manager of communications for Northern Health told The Northern View on March 13, “The only thing we will be disclosing is on a regional level.”
Collins said Northern Health is a vast region and it is up to patients to disclose if they are infected.
Residents of British Columbia are being advised by the provincial government health authorities to be calm and reassured with grocery and household supply purchases.
“I want to give the advice of the retail council. There are no shortages of goods. What happens on the shelves is the result of intense buying. We are asking people to show moderation, ” Adrian Dix, Provincial Minister of Health said in a press conference on March 14.
“There are not shortages. The supply chain is strong. We have to try as best as possible to revert to normal purchasing with respect to buying supplies in grocery stores and other places.” Dix said.
The City of Prince Rupert issued a press release late on March 13, with assurances to the community that although there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus locally, they want to protect residents and visitors from the spread of COVID-19 as a precautionary measure.
“Public health risk will be continually reassessed and City services will be adjusted accordingly should the risk level change,” the press release said.
The City has implemented several measures to aid in the combat of the virus such as directing staff to enhance cleaning measures within City facilities and to observe good hygiene. To promote recommended social distancing, the City is advising residents to pay utility bills and other amounts owing by alternative payment methods to in-person options, such as paying by cheque dropped in the mail-slot, by on line payment or by payment at financial institutions.
In addition, BC Transit has implemented enhanced cleaning measures for the fleet of buses to prevent potential spread via transit.
The municipality has cancelled it’s recreational programming until further notice.
“Registered participants will be contacted by staff to inform them of cancellations, and community members are encouraged to share this information. We apologize for the inconvenience, however this step is being taken in an abundance of caution to minimize potential impacts to the community,” the City said.
The provincial government announced on March 12, a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people and major sports and entertainment agencies reacting by shutting down events with large audiences, now Prince Rupert organizations are also responding.
“We are directing all event organizers in British Columbia that they will be required to cancel any gatherings larger than 250 people,” Henry said.
Henry advised British Columbia residents to keep at arms-length, wash hands regularly, and to use a three-foot social distancing protocol as it is challenging at large social gatherings to protect people from the transmission of respiratory infections.
Also affecting Prince Rupert residents immediately is the travel ban.
“We are advising all British Columbians against all non-essential travel outside of Canada and that includes the United States, ” Henry said. “It is a risk for all of us. We are strongly advising not to travel.”
Under the travel ban, if residents do chose to travel outside of Canada, even to as close as Alaska, they will be required to stay away from work or school for 14 days on their return.
“We don’t believe it is appropriate at this moment to close schools. They are … a place where young people can be kept safe and learn about social distancing,” Henry said. ” We know that closing schools abruptly can cause a lot of social interruption and economic impact.
Cancellations so far in Prince Rupert are increasing and The Northern View will update as frequently as possible.
Parlour Hair Salon – Closed
LeBlanc Boutique – Closed
Anytime Fitness – Closed
Warehouse One – Closed
The Source – Closed
Gigantic Fun – Closed
Maverick Foods – Closed
CityWest – Storefront closed to the public – Call centres will remain open
Island Wellspring Massage Therapy – Closed
Hekate Esthetics – Closed
Serenity Esthetics – Closed
Genetics Fitness – Closed
E’Klektik Trading – Closed
Harris and Wick – By appointment only
Cornerstones Physiotherapy – Closed
Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce – Closed
Great Bear Natural Medicine Clinic – Closing on Friday, March 20
The Argosy – Closed
Port Interpretive Centre and Prince Rupert Visitor Centre – Closed
Ansens Consignment – Closed
Salvation Army Thrift Store – Closed
Pinnacle Performance – Closed
Zikhara Yoga – Closed
RESTAURANTS AND BARS:
Wheelhouse Brewing – Tasting room closed. Open for take out
McDonald’s – Dining room closed. Open for take out and drive thru
Tim Horton’s – Dining room closed. Open for take out
Don Cherry’s – Closed
Crest Hotel – Open- Limited seating in Waterfront Restaurant and Charlie’s Lounge
Breakers Pub – Closed
Gondola Restaurant – Open regular hours, business as usual
Fukasaku of Prince Rupert – Closed
Javadotcup – Closed
Friendship House – Closed
Hecate Strait Employment Development Centre – Closed
Prince Rupert Public Library – Closed
Prince Rupert City Hall – Closed to the public – Services by appointment only
Prince Rupert Landfill – Closed to the public – Services by appointment only
Prince Rupert Archives – Closed
Prince Rupert Fire Station – Closed to the public
North Coast Regional District – All facilities closed to the public – Services by appointment only
Recycling Depot – Closed to the public – Services by appointment
Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter – Closed to the public – Please leave donations in designated places
BC SPCA Prince Rupert Branch – Closed to the public – Adoptions and emergency surrenders by appointment only
District of Port Edward – Closed to the public
Coast Mountain College – Classes cancelled, March 18, 19, 20 – campus remains open
Charles Hays spring break trip – Cancelled
SD 52 – All schools are closed indefinitely
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT:
Lester Centre – All events cancelled
Create Jam – Postponed
Good Time Games – Spring break camps – Cancelled
Dance Academy of Prince Rupert – Closed
Spectrum City Dance – Closed
McChesney’s Debut – Postponed
Gymnastics – Spring break camps – Cancelled
Eagle Eye Archery – Cancelled
Prince Rupert Soccer – Postponed
Sheri’s Favourites Ice Skating Gala – Cancelled
Prince Rupert Curling Club – Cancelled all public and private events
Junior All Native Basketball Tournament
Prince George Dance Festival – Cancelled
Midget Hockey Tournament – Cancelled
ALL CITY OF PRINCE RUPERT PROGRAMS:
Cancelled until further notice
Adult Sewing, Art-Ventures, Bronze Cross/Medallion Camp, Carpet Bowling, Casual Gym, Co-Ed Indoor Soccer, Drop in Kid’s Zone, Drop in Youth Lounge, Drop in Climbing Wall, Youth sewing
Abs!!, Barre Burn, BodyFit, Power Flow Yoga, Tabata GX, Yin & Tonic, Zumba, Men’s Indoor Floor Hockey, Nifty Fifties Walking Club, Noon-Hour Badminton, Public Skating, Spring Break Camps, Swimming Lessons, Volleyball, Women’s Ball Hockey
The Northern View is currently in contact with all organizations and public agencies and will update as soon as confirmed.