Event cancellations, extra precautions announced as COVID-19 intensifies
In response to recommended best practices for public gatherings by BC Public Health Officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19, groups and agencies throughout the West Kootenay have decided to postpone public engagements for the foreseeable future.
The Columbia Basin Trust was the first to cancel public engagements earlier in the week when the organization decided to postpone two events scheduled for this past week in Salmo and Trail.
“We’re disappointed by these circumstances, as meeting with people in person lies at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer.
“As always, however, the well-being of people in the Basin comes first, and we look forward to getting together at a later date. In the meantime, we encourage all people to bring forward their ideas online.”
The Interfaith Climate Vigil scheduled for March 22 at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar has also decided to cancel its event.
“In light of the current corona virus concerns and the fact that our membership is mostly seniors, we feel its unwise to take that risk,” the release from the Interfaith Climate Vigil said.
Organizers of the Wet’suwet’en Nation screening ‘Invasion’ have also pulled the plug on their event, scheduled for Kaslo on March 20th, and in Castlegar on March 22nd, until a future date.
“While we appreciate all the work and support that has gone into these two support events”, said Nipawi Kakinoosit in a media release. “We think, in light of expanding Covid-19 infection, that the health and safety of the community is more important at this time.”
Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer and Minister of Health Adrian Dix, recommended against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States.
“Effective today, anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada will be asked to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon their return,” Dr. Henry said.
“We know that this is a voluntary measure, but it is our expectation that people will follow this direction as part of their civic duty.”
BC Public Health Officials also suggested all event organizers to cancel any gathering larger than 250 people.
“This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events,” Dr. Henry said.
“This threshold has been selected, as it is much easier to maintain important social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19.”
Thursday, in response to the COVID-19 situation, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League suspended its 2019/20 playoffs, indefinitely.
“This decision was made by the KIJHL’s league executive and was determined to be in the best interest of the health and well-being of our players, coaches, volunteers and fans,” the KIJHL statement read.
Friday, the KIJHL, under the advice of Hockey Canada and BC Hockey, the league cancelled the remainder of the season.