Hope’s Mayor Peter Robb says the district is working on how to enforce new orders from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and working with businesses on voluntary reductions and closures.
“Many of you are concerned about hoarding and the motivations behind some non-residents buying items in Hope,” Robb stated, adding provincial measure to control and coordinate supply chains of key items, as well as ban the resale of essential items, will help with these concerns.
Provincial leaders said last Thursday these bans, and other orders including limiting gatherings to under 50 people, would be enforced at the municipal level.
Fraser Health takes the lead on efforts to enforce these bans, Robb said, assisted by the district and the RCMP.
What this looks like in Hope is random visits to Hope businesses by the health authority, one of which was conducted Friday. Robb said 65 businesses were inspected and all were in compliance. “We’re very pleased…that the business community has stepped up and they’re following everything,” he added.
So far, there is no provincial order to shut down non-essential businesses. In Hope, several businesses have taken the preventative measure of closing their doors while others stay open. “We are working with businesses to get voluntary reductions in operation and shutdowns while helping them get the support they need,” Robb stated.
Hope’s bylaw officer will be involved in monitoring closed facilities, as well as communicating with health officers and providing “warnings, information and advice” to members of the public. For anyone who has questions about this or wants to report something about these public health orders can call district hall at 604 869 5671.
“They are not authorized to detain individuals or issue a fine or penalty,” said Hope’s chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky. “So what they do, along with the RCMP, is they ideally try to get compliance…and if not, that information is passed back to the proper health authority so that fines or penalties can be administered under the Public Health Act.”
This would likely involve a court process, Fortoloczky said. The district does not yet have information about how fines would be set or administered, this is the purview of the health authority. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said penalties could include fines of more than $25,000 or jail time.
Updates on washrooms, campgrounds and the transfer station
Last week the District of Hope stated there are now handicap accessible portable toilets in Memorial Park. They’ve also placed handwashing stations there as well, after closing public washrooms last week. The district has also closed playgrounds at Memorial Park and Kawkawa Lake.
After one resident warned of out-of-town visitors checking in to the Coquihalla Campground, the district stated the campground has now stopped taking reservations for “all forms of recreational camping.” They are still open for anyone with a local address who needs to self isolate for 14 days, provided they have “fully contained RV units.”
This closure comes just days after Hope’s tourism and economic development organization AdvantageHOPE urged non-residents to stay away from the community and leave essential supplies and services for locals.
The district also warned residents to expect delays at the Hope transfer station due to measures put in place in response to COVID-19, as well as the annual spring cleaning rush. Run by Valley Waste, the transfer station is now only allowing one vehicle in at a time.
Anyone heading to the station is asked not to get out of their vehicles when weighing in or out, instead the scale attendant will assist while people remain in their cars.