COVID-19 advisors may be in the works for Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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COVID-19 advisors may be in the works for Kelowna

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
July 22, 2020 - 6:30 PM

The City of Kelowna is considering a program to help educate visitors on the rules of safe distancing during this summer of COVID-19.

The idea would be to have people – possibly called advisors or ambassadors – walking around places like beaches and parks to remind visitors about provincial rules on safe distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"I don’t think we’ve called it anything yet,” Mayor Colin Basran told iNFOnews.ca July 22. “It’s just something we’re exploring.”

His comments come in light of the fact Kelowna is now the epicentre of new infections in the province with now more than 1,000 people in isolation because of a series of parties and gatherings around the July 1 holiday.

READ MORE: 102 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over the weekend

Basran has been downtown on a number of occasions and observed how people are behaving.

“I would say there’s sometimes reasons for concern, but there’s also times that it isn’t an issue,” he said. “It varies with the people who are down there.”

While some people may be worried about visiting Kelowna because of what is referred to as a “community exposure,” Basran said many people are still coming as visitors and he’s following Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice and continuing to welcome them.

“As of now, she still believes it’s OK for people from around the province to visit Kelowna and she is not prepared to tell people from other provinces to stay away or ask for the closing of any borders,” he said. “So, in her mind, it’s fine as long as people adhere to her orders and recommendations. So, while not everyone is doing that, she is going to continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. It is possible that we may need to revise Stage 3 or go back to Stage 2 (of B.C.'s re-opening plan).”

Last week, Dr. Henry did say she had met with Basran and others to talk about how to respond to the community exposure, mainly in terms of a communication strategy. At that time she mentioned possibly putting notices in grocery and liquor stores about the B.C. anti-COVID-19 rules.

READ MORE: UPDATE: 12 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

If the city puts advisors or ambassadors into busy areas of the city, that would expand on that strategy.


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