City of Penticton considering possible economic relief for residents in isolation - InfoNews

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City of Penticton considering possible economic relief for residents in isolation

FILE PHOTO- Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki says the city remains "a very healthy community" in spite of growing numbers of the COVID-19 virus provincially.
March 25, 2020 - 4:15 PM

Penticton city council and staff are looking at ways to lessen the economic blow to residents as the health crisis over COVID-19 threatens to leave a trail of economic damage in the city.

Mayor John Vassilaki said earlier this week they are considering anything within their power.

“We are discussing and talking about a lot of stuff, we will be putting out news releases on a daily basis with the possibility of such things as tax relief or deferment and budget changes and mil rate,” Vassilaki said. “I can’t say anything at this time as it is a city council decision. We will put out those notices together, so I can’t confirm or deny anything at this point."

The city announced Monday it was suspending utility disconnections for non-payment until June 30 due to possible financial challenges residents were facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor and council are staying connected through teleconferencing. He says council is avoiding crowds, doing most of their communicating by telephone.

“We are taking a lot of precautions. City Council has to stay healthy,” he says. “I’m trying to calm everyone down as much as I can. It’s not that bad in Penticton, we are a very healthy community."

"I know we have a lot of seniors. I keep telling them to 'please stay home, work on their hobbies, don’t get bored because when you get bored you get depressed,”’ he said.

The mayor advises residents to do things to keep busy so they don’t think about the COVID -19 pandemic all day.

“That just depresses people and makes them feel bad,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate, for the whole world. I’m 74 years old and I’ve never witnessed anything like this. Not even my parents - my mother is 94 - can remember anything like this, not even during the war,” the mayor said.

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