Friday, November 20, 2020 – With COVID-19 cases increasing not only around the province but more specifically on Vancouver Island, Dr. Bonnie Henry is emphasizing “we need to slow this down. We need to put the brakes on the virus and doing this requires a sustained effort by all of us.” She shares, “This second surge is putting a strain on our health-care system… We need to ease this pressure so we can continue to manage the virus in our province and also continue to do the many activities that are important to us.” Yesterday, Dr. Henry announced new orders and province-wide restrictions.
Masks are now required in all public indoor spaces and retail stores.
Social gatherings are limited to immediate household members.
While the District remains open to serve you, I would like to remind residents that most business can be done online, through the District website, and by phone (250.642.1634). We need to work together to slow the spread.
As we take direction from public health, council is meeting exclusively virtually at this time. Staff have worked hard to ensure we have the technology available to support this. The community can continue to view public meetings through the live stream on the District website and participate on public meeting agenda items. To participate on an item on the agenda, please connect with our Corporate Services staff by email (email@example.com); they are happy to assist you.
I have mentioned previously how the silver lining during the pandemic is in the community’s response. Sooke is a kind and caring community: leaving food and treats on doorsteps and conducting online sing-a-longs are examples of this. We are hopeful to have the Santa Run continue on December 12th. This will provide holiday cheer to neighbourhoods in a safe and responsible way. Our parks crew will also be turning holiday lights on in the town core on December 1st to brighten your holidays.
Many of the events and activities that we are used to experiencing are not possible right now. Now is the time for the community to remain connected in our steadfast approach against COVID-19. We are in this together. Our community effort to wear masks, not participate in social gatherings and to stay home when we are ill is how we can put forth a collective community effort and do our part to slow the spread.
These are challenging times. I would like to particularly acknowledge our local businesses who have adapted and innovated in their response. The Chamber’s BetterBuySooke.ca portal is one example of adaptation. Through pilot programs with food trucks in parks to expanded outdoor spaces, from a policy perspective the District has adapted to support our local businesses during this difficult time. I encourage residents to #ChooseSooke and support our local businesses as best as you are able. The Federal Government announced today new support for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Please refer to the Government of Canada website for complete details on this program. Additional provinces resources are available through StrongerBC.
I would also like to recognize our seniors and highlight the resources available to you. Safe Seniors, Strong Communities is a program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. The District has posted a link to this resource on the District’s website. If you have a senior in your neighbourhood, I encourage you to check on them – leave them a note or card as a means to remind them that their neighbours are there for them.
Additionally, BC 211 is an organization that provides a free, confidential, multilingual service connecting people with resources and support services they might need. Help can be accessed 24/7 through their website bc211.ca or by calling 211.
Social isolation can be tough, a lot of us are not used to spending so much time alone. Reach out to a friend who might be alone by phone or face time. As a community, it is important that we support each other while continuing to follow the guidance and orders provided by public health. Again, we are in this together. We will get through this with our combined efforts.
Links are available on the District website to all recent information to help keep you informed. Please visit sooke.ca/covid19 for these details.
Thank you for doing your part. Thank you for staying strong. Thank you for taking care of each-other by following the direction provided by public health. I also wish to thank our essential front line workers, our teachers, our volunteers – who are so committed to a healthy future for all of us.
Take good care, Sooke. Be well. Stay safe.
Mayor of Sooke