The evolving threat of COVID-19 is forcing changes and closures at Chilliwack City Hall.
With the B.C.-wide ban on gatherings of 50+ people, City of Chilliwack officials have cancelled the 7 p.m. public hearings, and public information meetings for next two council meetings on March 17, and April 7.
“Council Chambers has audience seating for 150 people and we have no way of knowing how many people will be in attendance for tomorrow’s public hearing.” said Mayor Ken Popove on Monday.
It doesn’t make sense to hold public meetings while officials are urging people to stay at home to flatten the curve of COVID infection.
The earlier portion of the March 17 council meeting at 3 p.m. will proceed as scheduled, but everyone is being asked to watch the meeting online at chilliwack.com/live rather than showing up in person.
Notices will also be posted on the doors asking folks to watch online.
The next regularly scheduled 7 p.m. public meeting and public hearings on April 7 have also been cancelled, as well as the April 2 Community Engagement Meeting. The 7 p.m. engagement meeting, for which advertising had not gone out, was to be a way to get information, feedback either in person or via a live-stream online. Hearings will be rescheduled.
Several facilities shut down as of late Monday afternoon.
“In order to encourage social distancing as recommended by the health authority, the City of Chilliwack has made the difficult decision to temporarily close recreation facilities effective at 5 p.m. on March 16, 2020 until further notice,” according to a city spokesperson.
Facilities to close include: Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre, Landing Sports Centre, Cheam Leisure Centre, Sardis Sports Complex, and Evergreen Hall.
“We all need to do our part to mitigate the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19, which is why we have taken a pro-active approach to temporarily close our recreation facilities,” said Mayor Ken Popove.
Facilities in Chilliwack that are managed by other entities will announce closures or changes themselves. These include: Chilliwack Coliseum, Chilliwack Curling and Community Centre, Chilliwack Museum and Archives, Chilliwack Cultural Centre, Chilliwack Heritage Park and Yarrow Community Centre.
The city’s spring break camps will continue to operate since they are a valuable service to families who are working. The camps will follow provincial, federal and local health authorities’ guidelines for continued operation and will continue to closely monitor any changes in guidelines for day camps.
City officials are not closing the city hall location on Young Road completely, but they are asking anyone who arrives feeling unwell to return home, and discouraging visits.
“We are asking people to consider calling or emailing City Hall instead of attending to business in person,” according to signage that went up Monday. “We have the attached signage up on our doors.”
Full refunds will be provided to anyone who has registered for activities affected by the closures.
For safety’s sake if anyone is able to conduct their business over the phone, please consider calling them, instead. The number is 604-792-9311.