District of Sooke closes public access to municipal hall to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 pandemic

March 16, 2020
[Sooke, BC]

In response to COVID-19, the District of Sooke has closed public access to the municipal hall, effective immediately. All municipal meetings are therefore cancelled for at least thirty (30) days, including the March 16th Council meeting scheduled this afternoon.

The District has ramped up its capability to serve the public remotely, and residents are encouraged to contact municipal staff via email or telephone. Information and updates will be available on the District website and shared out on District social media channels.

These actions reinforce the public health recommendation to practice social distancing to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the current threat in Sooke is low, these are unified and cautionary measures. “The Emergency Operations Centre has been activated in order to monitor directives and updates by federal and provincial agencies, and streamline communications,” offers EOC Director, Matt Barney. “This action is not intended to panic residents but provide some assurance that the situation is being heavily monitored.”

In the spirit of social solidarity and community safety, the District has made the decision to alter service levels through the following closures:

  • District of Sooke municipal hall at 2205 Otter Point Road is closed for public access.
  • All municipally operated parks washrooms are closed for public access.
  • District of Sooke Fire Department at 2225 Otter Point Road is closed for public access.
  • Building inspections will continue with options available (video and photo may be accepted) depending on the type of inspection. Onsite inspections may continue in unoccupied buildings at the discretion of the Building Official. Contact the Building Safety Department for details Building@sooke.ca
  • Emergency and essential services will remain intact. Sooke Fire Rescue personnel will continue to serve the community and respond to emergency incidents. The Department has established internal protocols in response to COVID-19.
  • District staff will continue to support the maintenance and operations of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • The District EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) is activated for level one response and will continue to monitor and act on information and directives from Federal and Provincial agencies to ensure an aligned, Canada-wide approach. The EOC will continue to operate during regular District hours. The EOC is not open to the public. Deputy Chief and Emergency Program Coordinator, Matt Barney is acting as EOC Director.
  • These closures remain in effect until further notice.

“It is important to take every precaution to help keep our community safe by reducing opportunities for contact,” shares Mayor, Maja Tait. “In doing so, we help protect all Canadians. Getting ahead of this is hugely dependent on a cohesive approach, and the District is on board with nation-wide efforts to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.”

Municipal officials point to Health Canada’s updated travel advisory to foreign countries. The District apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. The health and safety of residents, staff and visitors is of the highest priority, and the District will continue to monitor the situation through the EOC as new information becomes available.

For COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus updates, please continue to reference the following links:
Island Health
BC Centre for Disease Control
Government of Canada
World Health Organization

Coronavirus News & Information issued by the District of Sooke:
Mar 13, 2020 Coronavirus response – District Activates Emergency Operations Centre
Mar 10, 2020 Coronavirus prevention and monitoring

Further updates will be available on the District website and shared out via the Sooke Emergency Program Facebook page and District of Sooke Twitter account.

Media Contact:

Matt Barney, Deputy Chief/Emergency Program Coordinator
District of Sooke Fire Rescue
250-642-5422 ext. 638  |  mbarney@sooke.ca

District Contacts & Social Media Channels:
Website: www.sooke.ca
Twitter: @SookeCa
Facebook:  Emergency Program
District Phone: 250-642-1634
Fax: 250-642-0541
District Email: info@sooke.ca
Staff Email: Directory
Fire Dept. and EOC Phone: 250-642-5422