Laws, orders, rules and guidance – requirements in Covid pandemic can be confusing

The Town of Osoyoos and other municipalities assist the province in enforcing provincial public health orders. But bylaw officers aren’t given additional powers, and they can’t make arrests or impose fines. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

It can be confusing trying to stay up to date on the “rules” about how to conduct ourselves during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not only are statements being issued simultaneously by federal, provincial and municipal governments, but also from numerous departments, ministries and agencies of each.

“Rules” is used in quotation marks because some are strict laws with serious legal consequences – the federal Quarantine Act, for example, which imposes 14 days isolation on Canadians returning from the U.S. or abroad.

Other “rules” are strong recommendations for good reasons, but there’s currently no legislative authority to enforce them – preventing people from travelling to other B.C. communities, for example.

The confusion is most obvious when members of the public take it upon themselves to “enforce the rules” through vigilante action or shaming others on social media. Continue reading “Laws, orders, rules and guidance – requirements in Covid pandemic can be confusing”

Teachers back, but classrooms going virtual

The message on the notice board in this 2016 file photo of Osoyoos Secondary School could apply today. (Photo: Richard McGuire for the Osoyoos Times)

Teachers in B.C. are returning to work after spring break, but it won’t be business as usual at schools in Osoyoos and across the province.

The provincial government announced some new measures on Friday, March 27 and further announcements are expected this week. Continue reading “Teachers back, but classrooms going virtual”

Social distancing is helping, but we need to continue

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on March 27, 2020 (Photo: Government of British Columbia)

There’s evidence that efforts by British Columbians to social distance are helping to slow the rate of growth of the coronavirus, but new cases are still growing and efforts need to continue.

That’s the message in a joint statement issued Friday, March 27 by Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. Continue reading “Social distancing is helping, but we need to continue”

Province using extraordinary emergency powers to tackle crisis

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and Premier John Horgan announce extraordinary powers under a state of provincial emergency to keep British Columbians safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support the Province’s ongoing response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). (Province of British Columbia)

The following is a Government of B.C. news release (March 26, 2020):

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is using extraordinary powers under a state of provincial emergency to keep British Columbians safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support the Province’s ongoing response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Continue reading “Province using extraordinary emergency powers to tackle crisis”

Federal parties come together to pass emergency response bill

Canada’s federal political parties came together this week to pass emergency legislation to help Canadians cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. (File photo: © Richard McGuire Photo)

Federal parliamentarians of all parties came together yesterday (March 25) to pass a wide-ranging Emergency Response Act to assist Canadians who need financial help during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill C-13 passed through the House of Commons and Senate and received Royal Assent all on Tuesday and Wednesday March 24 and 25 — just two days — a process that normally takes months. By agreement, only a few dozen parliamentarians were in Ottawa to pass the bill.

The bill provides economic assistance in a number of areas including temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments and providing a taxable Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) of $2,000 a month for up to four months to support workers who lose their income as of result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Federal parties come together to pass emergency response bill”

Feds invoking Quarantine Act for those entering Canada

Snowbirds and others returning to Canada were requested to self-isolate for 14 days. With many failing to comply, the federal government is now invoking the Quaranine Act, giving it more enforcement powers. (Richard McGuire Photo)

We’ve all heard anecdotal stories about snowbirds returning to Osoyoos from wintering in the U.S. and refusing to self-isolate for the requested 14 days.

Sometimes they’re seen stopping off at local grocery stores to shop after crossing the border and before going home. We hear stories of some of them socializing with friends and laughing about self-isolation.

Today (March 25) the federal government announced it is invoking the Quarantine Act to legally require people entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu in a tweet this morning. “Today, we are making this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable.” Continue reading “Feds invoking Quarantine Act for those entering Canada”

RCMP warns that scammers are trying to profit from the virus

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reporting that scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

This information comes in a news release from Cpl. Daniel Michaud
Media Relations Officer Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC).

This can take the form of asking you to donate to victims, offering unproven treatments, or offering protective gear.

See their Fraud Alert warning for more information.

The dos and don’ts of social distancing

These dos and don’ts on social distancing come from Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer with the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Do:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Get fresh air, go for a jog or walk your dog but always keep two metres (six feet or about two arms-lengths) distance from other people.
  • Go to the grocery store or pharmacy as needed but keep the two-metre distance and wash your hands upon your return home. Shopping online and arranging to have things dropped off at your home is even better.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food. The extra scrubbing time matters. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Dispose of any tissues as soon as possible in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). This includes things like doorknobs, toys, toilets, phones, electronics, remote controls and bedside tables.
  • Use technology to keep in touch with people at higher risk like the elderly or those in poor health. Avoid personal contact.

Don’t:

  • Avoid non-essential gatherings. That means no visits with your neighbours or friends, no play dates, no sleepovers, no parties and especially no public gatherings in crowded spaces, like conferences, concerts or sporting events (if there are any on).
  • Avoid public transportation or, if you must use it, travel at uncrowded hours.
  • Don’t shake hands or kiss cheeks in greeting.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Public Health Authorities and Experts

This news category provides major announcements from public health and other authorities as well as new information from experts.

For links to websites of these authorities where you can get much more information updated regularly, please visit the Osoyoos Persists Public Health Authorities and Experts page.