Vernon council pushes for region-by-region reopening | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon council pushes for region-by-region reopening

June 23, 2020 - 2:38 PM

Vernon city council is pushing the province to reopen the economy on a region by region basis.

A notice of motion put forward by councillor Scott Anderson asks Mayor Victor Cumming to write to the provincial government asking it to adopt a regional approach to reopening the economy.

Anderson said the low number of cases within the region, compared to elsewhere, meant a blanket solution for the entire province wasn't appropriate.

"It makes absolutely no sense to commit economic suicide," Anderson said. "Some of the problems that we've ended here with I believe are an overreaction to a virus that was originally liked to the Spanish flu... we're not in that situation, we're nowhere near it, the death toll is not 10 per cent the death toll is looking to be one per cent to half a per cent."

Currently, the Interior Health region has 198 positive COVID-19 cases, none of which involve hospitalization. The Lower Mainland has over 2,400 cases, and six people are currently in intensive care.

While Anderson's motion was passed, the councillor agreed to amend the motion and remove the part that asked for restrictions to be removed "as quickly as possible" following objections from other councillors.

"I agree with most of it," councillor Kelly Fehr said. "I'm not in favour of asking the health authority to open up the Interior as quickly as possible, it's just a blanket statement, I'm not confident that any of us know better than Bonnie Henry."

While the amended motion passed, Mayor Cumming voted against the proposal.

"The reason we don't have any cases is because of the things we've done. It's been a tremendous victory," Cumming said. "The measure of public health intervention is what you don't have, not what you do have."

And it's not just Vernon council that wants to push for a regional reopening.

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is using the branding logo Safe Travels to pitch the region internationally as a place to visit.

A media release from the tourism association says they have recently been approved by the World Travel and Tourism Council as an area that is safe to travel in and businesses can use the logo at no cost with their branding.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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