North Cowichan strengthens some COVID-19 safety protocols, and introduces new ones, as the pandemic enters ts second phase. (File photo)

North Cowichan strengthens some COVID-19 safety protocols, and introduces new ones, as the pandemic enters ts second phase. (File photo)

Local governments in Valley bring in new COVID rules

Municipalities reacting to new public health orders

In response to the latest public health orders announced on Nov. 19, local governments in the Cowichan Valley are strengthening their existing COVID-19 safety protocols and implementing new ones.

The wearing of masks is now mandatory in all municipal buildings in North Cowichan, City of Duncan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and all employees who are able to work from home are being encouraged and accommodated to do so for the remainder of the calendar year.

Residents are encouraged to conduct all business with the local governments online or over the phone and avoid in-person visits to its offices if possible.

All in-person CVRD meetings, including committee and commission meetings, will cease and be conducted virtually as required.

Business meetings for rental groups in the CVRD are still permitted in person, but are required to meet COVID-19 response requirements, including mask use and physical distancing.

“We continue to closely follow the recommendations of Dr. [Bonnie] Henry, and will be updating all the CVRD’s COVID-19 safety plans to reflect the most recent provincial health orders,” said Brian Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD.

“While we do not anticipate any disruptions to our core service delivery at this time, some of our more discretionary service offerings like recreation programs have been impacted and will be adjusting or curtailing service as required. We urge residents to check the CVRD website for information, or call our staff directly to inquire about any changes to our services.”

As for North Cowichan, select fitness classes at Fuller Lake Arena and the Cowichan Aquatic Centre have been suspended until further notice.

For information on which aquatic, fitness, and skating programs and services are available, and to pre-register, visit www.northcowichan.ca/recreation.

“We are certainly in the second wave of COVID-19 now, and in Dr. Henry’s words, this virus is proving difficult to beat,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.

“We are taking extra precautions at municipal hall to protect residents and staff. Safety has been paramount throughout this pandemic, and remains so. Despite the increased safety protocols, we are working to continue uninterrupted services as best we can. I want to thank the community for their patience. Now is the time to be kind, be calm, and be safe to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

For information on how to access municipal services in North Cowichan, visit www.northcowichan.ca/COVID19, or call 250-746-3100.

Duncan’s council and committee meetings will continue to be conducted electronically as required.

Size-limited business meetings in the City of Duncan are still permitted in person but are required to meet COVID-19 response requirements, including mask use and physical distancing.

City Hall is open for in-person payment transactions Monday to Friday, with 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. set aside for seniors or people who are immune compromised; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all other customers.

Customers who can make payments through their online banking and file home owner grants through the website www.duncan.ca are encouraged to do so.

The drop box at city hall will continue to be monitored for payments or correspondence.

Other city business can still be done by phone at 250-746-6126, or email at general inquiries to duncan@duncan.ca.

“We continue to closely follow the recommendations of Dr. Henry and will be updating the City of Duncan COVID-19 safety plans to reflect the most recent provincial health orders,” said Peter de Verteuil, CAO of the City of Duncan.

“We do not anticipate any disruptions to our core service delivery at this time”

Coronavirus