March 23, 2020
Today, I participated in a conference call with Minister Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Minister Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, along with many other Mayors across the province. Their message to local government remains consistent. They have asked us to remind our residents to practice social distancing and follow the orders of Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer. While the City of Chilliwack does not have the authority to enforce social distancing at this time, we have been asked to continue to urge residents to do the right thing.
In order to help residents better understand the orders from BC’s provincial health officer, our crews installed signage and taped off over 500 pieces of playground equipment, including skateparks, on Friday night. Unfortunately, over the weekend many people blatantly disobeyed the direction of Dr. Henry. In Chilliwack, people were gathering together in groups, not practicing social distancing, and removing closure notices at our parks. This reckless behaviour was deeply disappointing to see in our community.
While the Province has not yet told local governments to close parks and trails to the public, they have been clear that people must practice social distancing. They have encouraged people to stay within their own small family group if they go out in public. It is our hope that the people of Chilliwack will start following that direction.
As a municipality, we will continue to take our direction from the provincial government during this health crisis. Together we can share the message to practice social distancing at all times and make a positive difference.