2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Summary
The Town of Smithers is committed to ensuring citizens are kept informed of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are taking direction from the Federal Government, Provincial Government, Northern Health, and the BC Centre for Disease Control in order to do our part to help minimize the spread of this virus. This includes recommendations for social distancing, a tactic to minimize close contact with others in the community by avoiding crowding and cancelling public gatherings, among other measures.
The public is advised to report any complaints of social distancing and self-isolation to the Ministry of Health at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Federal Government of Canada - COVID-19 Information
To learn more about Canada’s actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, refer to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
PROVINCIAL HEALTH OFFICER
The Provincial Health Officer is the senior public health official for British Columbia, and is responsible for monitoring the health of the population of British Columbia and providing independent advice to the ministers and public officials on public health issues.
The responsibilities of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) are outlined in the Public Health Act.
- For more information about PHO orders and medical-related information, visit bccdc.ca
- For more information about Provincial support and health information, visit gov.bc.ca/COVID-19.
- For a list of orders and notices, the PHO Site.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard click here
Provincial COVID-19 Resources
- BC Government COVID 19 Provincial Support and Information website provides a hub through which you can access critical information as it is updated, including the Provincial Health Officer’s Pandemic Preparedness Page and the BC Centre for Disease Control COVID site.
- Toll-free non-health phone line at: 1 888 268-4319 (1-888-COVID19), is open between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. seven days a week for non-medical information about the emergency (including latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and services from the provincial and federal governments).
- Fact Sheet on various renters’ supports. The fact sheet will be translated into multiple languages and those will be posted through this week. You can also find more details on the BC Provincial Government's actions to support renters
Provincial Supports: Below is a rolling list of Provincial announcements to support people and businesses during the COVID19 pandemic. Please visit the COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information website for more information: gov.bc.ca/covid19
B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service Now Live! click here
To help B.C. businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. government, through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness and the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, have partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) to launch a new B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
A new app from the Ministry of Health COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool is availble to download. The app will let you receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and alerts with regards to COVID-19.
Download the self-assessment app at https://bc.thrive.health/
The public is advised to report any complaints of social distancing and self-isolation to the Ministry of Health at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS, NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS and RURAL DEVELOPMENT, BC WILDFIRE SERVICE
April 17, 2020 Information Bulletin regarding a province-wide open burning prohibition that will be implemented at 12 noon Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on April 16, 2020.
In coordination with the broader Provincial Government, the B.C. Wildfire Service has prohibited the use of Category 2 and Category 3 Open Fires, as well as Resource Management Open Fires (Prescribed Fires) across the province, including the entire Northwest Fire Centre. Campfires are still allowed. Please see the attached Open fire regulations poster for a more detailed description of these categories. Also attached is a map to illustrate the prohibitions across all of the Northwest Fire Centre.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation remains dynamic in British Columbia and elsewhere around the world, and we recognize this causes concern for many of our partners and stakeholders. The BC Wildfire Service continues to prepare for the 2020 freshet and wildfire seasons and is adapting in response to changing conditions.
This is a provincial approach to prevent fire starts from holdover piles and ongoing burning. It is recognized that many parts of the province still have snow, but by enacting an early, province-wide burning prohibition, the BC Wildfire Service anticipates a reduction in human-caused wildfires. This will minimize the need to deploy staff, which helps to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Note that until Wednesday, April 15th, we remain under the open burning restrictions for all High Smoke Sensitivity Zones across the province issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The BCWS will monitor wildfire conditions, as well as remain in coordination with other branches of government regarding COVID-19, throughout the next months and may alter, expand, or rescind the restrictions that are being put into effect.
Please continue to refer to our Fire Bans and Restrictions webpage for updated information.
To report unlawful open burning, call the 24/7 Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277 or dial #7277 on a cell phone.
Since we are all at home but can’t burn, here are some activities from FireSmart Canada that we can do during COVID-19:
- Download the FireSmart Begins at Home app and undertake a structure ignition-zone assessment.
- Rake and remove tree needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 1.5 metres of a home’s foundation. As time permits, continue up to a 10-metre distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Clean tree needles from the roof and gutters.
- Get out your measuring tape and see how close wood piles are located to the home. If closer than 10 metres, relocate and move the pile at least 10 metres from structures.
- Sweep porches and decks to clear them of leaves and tree needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.
- Mow grass to a height of 10 centimetres or less.
- Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate them to a storage shed, garage, or basement. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located away from the home.
- Go to firesmartbc.ca and read or watch the numerous resources that are available on the website.
- Take the FireSmart 101 course on firesmartcanada.ca
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY
March 26, 2020 The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MoECCS) has issued open burning restrictions for all High Smoke Sensitivity Zones across the province until Wednesday, April 15th, 2020.The official release, which is also posted on the Air Quality Advisories webpage. For additional information please contact your regional Ministry of Environment & Climate Change office at 250-847-7260. For information anytime on fire bans and restrictions, please visit the BCWS Fire Bans and Restrictions webpage.
Northern Health is actively monitoring COVID-19 in Smithers and the Bulkley Valley. To receive up to date information please follow the following link to Northern Health, which links to the BC Centre for Disease Control, COVID-19 on HealthLinkBC and Handwashing on HealthLink BC.'
Northern Health has launched a COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line to help answer questions and concerns from Northern BC residents. Northern Health Authority - COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line.
The NH COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line can be reached at 1-844-645-7811.
Northern Health Resources:
- COVID-19 - A Northern Health Guide for your Community - Version 1 (issued March 27, 2020)
Northern Health Updates:
Thursday, June 4, 2020 Northern Health COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line: Hours changing June 4
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 Healthier Northern Communities E-Brief June 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020 Northern Health Connections gradual return of service
Thursday, May 28, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - May 28, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Northern Health Sharing your COVID-19 experience – take the ‘BC COVID-19 SPEAK: Your story, our future’ survey
Thursday, May 21, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - May 21, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - May 14, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Northern Health Resuming Elective Surgeries - May 12, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - May 7, 2020
Thursday, April 30, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - April 30, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020 Northern Health Stakeholders Update - April 23, 2020
- Joint statement on Province of B.C.'s COVID-19 response – April 22, 2020
- BC COVID-19 dashboard
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Northern Health Guide for Your Community
- Mental Health and Substance Use Resources
- Testing now available more widely: Anyone with symptoms can be tested
Thursday, April 9, 2020 Northern Health Update
Thursday, April 2, 2020 Northern Health Update
Friday, March 27, 2020 Northern Health Update
Monday, March 23, 2020 Northern Health Information Bulletins
- Additional Visitor Restrictions in place at Northern Health facilities
- Changes to protect Seniors receiving care
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Northern Health Information Bulletins
- Visitor restrictions in place at Northern Health facilities/outpatient clinics
- Non-urgent scheduled surgeries postponed
TOWN OF SMITHERS
News Releases COVID-19 Updates *last update was posted May 8, 2020
Thursday, April 9, 2020 Please click here to view the video Message from Deputy Mayor Atrill, Cormac Hikisch - NHA, Matt Davey, Prevention and Community Safety Officer, and Mark deHoog
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Please click here to view the video Message from Deputy Mayor Atrill
Monday, April 6, 2020 COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Guidance. The Smithers Bylaw Enforcement Officer will also be conducting regular pro-active patrols during the week, engaging with the public in an effort to educate them on proper social distancing requirements.
Friday, March 27, 2020 Please click here to view the video Message from Deputy Mayor Atrill
Thursday, March 19, 2020 The Town of Smithers has cancelled the Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Regular Meeting of Council.
SMITHERS AND AREA BUSINESS
The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce has created COVID-19 Resources + Closures and Operating Hour Changes to Smithers and Area Businesses.
Friday, March 27, 2020, 4:00pm Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Update: Supports for Business
Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced four measures to further support business and not-for-profits who are struggling in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
- The wage subsidy has been increased from 10% to 75% for qualifying businesses, back dated to March 15, 2020.
- The federal government will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions to provide interest-free loans (up to $40,000 for one year) to small businesses and not-for-profits. Up to $10,000 may be forgiven in qualifying circumstances. The program is called the Canada Emergency Business Account—and can be accessed through financial institutions.
- Businesses, including self-employed people, can defer GST/HST payments, and customs duties for imports, until June. This will help businesses pay employees and ease cash-flow challenges.
- Small and medium-sized companies that need help with operational cash flow can access the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program. This program provides $40 billion in guaranteed loans (government backed) through various financial institutions.
The BC Chamber has updated their Resource Support page on the BC Chamber website, where you’ll find the latest information on how to qualify for, and access, all available programs and supports. Additional link for information from the BC Chamber is the ‘Business Support Cheat Sheet’ This announcement is a clear result of the collective advocacy efforts by the BC Chamber network, and the insight gathered through their recent COVID-19 Business Impacts Survey—which identified preferred solutions for businesses including zero interest loans and GST payment deferrals. The BC Chamber Mindreader Platform is still listening, and reporting back to government. How is your business faring today in the age of COVID-19? How are your needs evolving? Take this quick (~7 min) survey. If you can't click the link, please copy and paste the URL: https://www.bcmindreader.com/c/al/6ohp5NAi47uLGZ7uaYfrrQ/6U4cyOOg4Ac5xA86vHl5hi
Thank you to the Canadian Chamber for successfully leading the advocacy for a 75% wage subsidy. The federal and provincial governments are listening. On a final note, please continue to share your concerns, challenges, and solutions on the supports businesses need in these unprecedented times. The BC Chamber network - along with our network - is making a difference! We are all doing the best we can to advocate for your needs and stay on top of all the latest changing information. Thanks for keeping informed and reading these updates. Sincerely, Sheena Miller, Chamber Manager.
March 26, 2020 Chamber Update
March 26, 2020 We're In This Together Smithers
March 19, 2020 As of Friday March 20, the Smithers Visitor Information Centre will be closed to the Public. The Chamber of Commerce will still remain committed to serving the public through phone, online and appointment only services. Following this precautionary measure, we wish to make it clear that we are still here to serve the business community and public. We are committed to do what we can to help our community endure and recover. What matters most right now is how we care for one another. Please reach out if you need support! 250.847.5072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, May 21, 2020 BC Transit putting measures in place to align with BC’s Restart Plan
Friday, April 24, 2020 BC Transit COVID-19 updates
Friday, April 3, 2020 BC Transit and the Town of Smithers implement service changes.
In order to continue offering Smithers Transit System customers with critical transportation solutions, BC Transit and the Town of Smithers are making adjustments to transit services as part of our response to COVID-19, starting April 6, 2020.
The service changes also take into account having sufficient service to allow for physical distancing while traveling on public transit in BC Transit communities.
The changes will include:
Reduction to altered Saturday service levels on all routes
Cancellation of route 22 trips at 2:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m.