Oliver mayor urges residents to remain vigilant in preventing spread of COVID-19

Oliver mayor urges residents to remain vigilant in preventing spread of COVID-19

Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen implores residents to do their part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (File photo)

(The following is a letter to Oliver residents from Mayor Martin Johansen.)

The safety and well-being of our community, including our staff and Council members, is of utmost importance to Town of Oliver Council.

The Town is mandated to take our direction from the the Province of British Columbia and the provincial health officer in remaining vigilant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  New direction comes daily, such as the announcement this morning from Premier John Horgan and Minister Farnworth. The province has taken unprecedented steps to support the COVID-19 response and I encourage everyone to follow the provincial direction – click on the link https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0020-000568

In brief, the province has coordinated the response specific to the supply chain, protecting consumers, enforcement, travel, protecting the vulnerable, and emergency response coordination.  The province has also directed the Town to activate its emergency plan.

On behalf of Council, I sincerely thank our community for remaining vigilant by adhering to the provincial health officer’s orders in the interest of protecting our health and for those around us. I wish to acknowledge the tremendous work of our essential services, including health care workers, first responders, grocery store staff, pharmacy staff, and the many more that I may have missed.

I want to remind our residents that misinformation and rumours are not only irresponsible, but reckless and do nothing more than to drive fear in our community.  I am in daily contact with Interior Health Authority senior administration and provincial ministers, and I can assure you that if there are any developments in the COVID-19 health emergency facing Oliver, I would be one of the first to have this knowledge.  In the future, should I be notified of any significant changes to the COVID-19 health emergency I will make a public service announcement in conjunction with health authorities immediately.

It is vital for our community to continue providing services; in particular essential services – water and waste water services, fire, police, waste collection, cemetery services, and day-to-day contact with our customer service staff.  Business continuity plans have been developed to ensure services continue during this pandemic.  Even though the Town Office is closed to the public, staff can be contacted by phone or email to assist you with your questions.

We have increased our electronic tools to stay engaged with our community through our website, social media posts, and online feedback.

Just like our outstanding community members, Council and staff are doing the best we can navigating through this uncharted territory. Remaining healthy inside and out is critically important to all of us, and during times of uncertainty we are stronger together.

The Town of Oliver Bylaw Enforcement Officer on request of the province will be patrolling the Town and visiting local businesses to ensure the provincial health officer orders are understood and being adhered to. Specifically, ensuring that business that should be closed are and those that can remain open are practicing social distancing and safety of employees. Officers will be educating and following up to ensure orders are continued to be followed. The province in the future may also use bylaw officers to enforce the orders through enforcement measures.

Please, take care of yourselves and each other as we adhere to the health orders. Do not forget about your neighbour, family and friends to see if there is any way to help them with their daily needs, while at the same time please practice your social distancing – two metres or six feet apart.

Maybe not together, as much as in-person, we remain at your service. I have been so very impressed with our staff and I expect these times to be no different. I would also like to thank our community for doing your part to protect your health and that of your loved ones.

I will continue to provide regular weekly updates to the community to ensure you are receiving accurate and relevant information regarding the Town of Oliver and our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.