COVID-19 Alberni Valley Response

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This page has been set up to provide you with local information on COVID-19. We will regularly update this page with any changes to City of Port Alberni (the City) and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) operations which may affect Port Alberni and the surrounding Electoral Areas.

Here in the Alberni Valley, the City and ACRD use a combined approach to preparing for and responding to emergencies. Because the COVID-19 global emergency affects all citizens of the Alberni Valley, we have implemented a joint Alberni Valley COVID-19 Response Plan (the Plan).

As local governments, our main role is to help provide accurate and timely information to the public, as well as ensure we continue to provide essential services to the community we serve.

Please note that the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control should remain your primary source of information in the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak. Please visit their websites information on COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.

As we progress through this global epidemic, we remind you to do your part by following the direction of public health officials, including limiting public gatherings, practicing physical/social distancing, staying home unless your work is considered to be essential to the public good and washing your hands regularly

Stay safe - stay calm - stay informed - stay connected

We are stronger together.


This page has been set up to provide you with local information on COVID-19. We will regularly update this page with any changes to City of Port Alberni (the City) and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) operations which may affect Port Alberni and the surrounding Electoral Areas.

Here in the Alberni Valley, the City and ACRD use a combined approach to preparing for and responding to emergencies. Because the COVID-19 global emergency affects all citizens of the Alberni Valley, we have implemented a joint Alberni Valley COVID-19 Response Plan (the Plan).

As local governments, our main role is to help provide accurate and timely information to the public, as well as ensure we continue to provide essential services to the community we serve.

Please note that the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control should remain your primary source of information in the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak. Please visit their websites information on COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.

As we progress through this global epidemic, we remind you to do your part by following the direction of public health officials, including limiting public gatherings, practicing physical/social distancing, staying home unless your work is considered to be essential to the public good and washing your hands regularly

Stay safe - stay calm - stay informed - stay connected

We are stronger together.


  • Provincial state of emergency extended in COVID-19 response

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    6 days ago

    The provincial state of emergency is being extended an additional two weeks to support continued co-ordination of B.C.’s COVID-19 response.

    “We are now in the longest state of emergency in our province’s history, and British Columbians everywhere have shown we have what it takes to persevere through these challenging times,” said Premier John Horgan. “As we slowly turn the dial on our social and economic activity, we must work together to do so in a way that keeps our communities and loved ones safe in the weeks and months to come.”

    Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General...

    The provincial state of emergency is being extended an additional two weeks to support continued co-ordination of B.C.’s COVID-19 response.

    “We are now in the longest state of emergency in our province’s history, and British Columbians everywhere have shown we have what it takes to persevere through these challenging times,” said Premier John Horgan. “As we slowly turn the dial on our social and economic activity, we must work together to do so in a way that keeps our communities and loved ones safe in the weeks and months to come.”

    Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is extending the state of emergency as B.C. begins to safely and carefully restart the province. B.C. is now in Phase 2 of its Restart Plan, which lays out a series of steps and principles that everyone must follow to protect people and ensure the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

    “As businesses work hard to safely reopen their doors and friends and families carefully expand their social bubbles, we are beginning to see what this global challenge will look like in B.C.,” Farnworth said. “Our government is committed to supporting people and businesses for the long road ahead, and we will continue to find ways to keep the economy moving and keep people safe.”

    The current state of emergency is being extended through the end of the day on June 9, 2020. During the past two weeks of the provincial state of emergency, government has taken action to support British Columbians by:

    • welcoming the release of the initial set of WorkSafeBC guidelines that will help businesses and organizations develop their plans to reopen safely during Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan;
    • helping the province’s hospitality sector by temporarily authorizing the expansion of service areas, such as patios, to support physical distancing requirements and industry recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • supporting people working on the front lines in B.C.’s health-care system, social services and corrections by providing temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay as part of a cost-shared program with the federal government;
    • announcing that parents will have the choice to bring their children back to class on a part-time basis this school year as part of BC’s Restart Plan, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September 2020; and
    • supporting people who were living in encampments in Victoria at Topaz Park and on Pandora Avenue to move into secured temporary accommodations, with wraparound supports to protect their health and safety.

    The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. Farnworth made the original declaration on March 18, 2020, after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency the previous day.

    Quick Facts:

    • Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act.
    • The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible for further periods of up to 14 days at a time.
    • The current state of emergency is the longest in B.C.’s history, surpassing the 2017 wildfire season when the province was in a state of emergency for 10 weeks from July 7 to Sept. 15.

    Learn More:

    For information on BC’s Restart Plan, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/RestartBC

  • Property Tax Payment Options Include In-person Service at City Hall

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    6 days ago

    The City of Port Alberni is taking a phased approach to reopening City Hall beginning Monday, June 1, 2020, to serve those that need assistance in processing their property tax and utility bill payments. The interior of the building will remain closed to the public, while a staffed payment booth in the front foyer of the building will be available (hours are limited from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.)

    While this in-person option is being made available, the City continues to strongly encourage taxpayers to use the alternate payment methods:

    The City of Port Alberni is taking a phased approach to reopening City Hall beginning Monday, June 1, 2020, to serve those that need assistance in processing their property tax and utility bill payments. The interior of the building will remain closed to the public, while a staffed payment booth in the front foyer of the building will be available (hours are limited from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.)

    While this in-person option is being made available, the City continues to strongly encourage taxpayers to use the alternate payment methods:

    • Online or telephone banking
    • At your financial institution, while completing your other banking business
    • By mail
    • Via the secure City Hall mail drop box

    “Typically, the number of people visiting City Hall increases dramatically during tax time. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the required physical distancing measures, the City’s approach to making in-person payments has changed. To better serve a greater number of people, many of whom are seniors, in the safest manner possible, the front foyer of City Hall has been modified to include one staffed plexiglass payment station,” said director of finance, Andrew McGifford.

    In addition to directional signage, physical distancing stickers will be placed on the ground to ensure those in line are keeping a safe distance from one another. The staffed payment station and payment machine will be cleaned between each person and directional signage will safely guide people to the designated exit area. Signage reminding individuals to stay home if they are unwell will also be prominently posted.

    For the safety of staff and the public, those with general inquiries are encouraged to phone or email City Hall. Should an individual arrive at City Hall with a general inquiry, they will be asked to contact reception by phone or email for assistance.

    “We want to ensure we continue to provide high-quality services to our residents during this time,” said Mayor Minions. “While there is so much we can do virtually these days, we respect the fact that some people either need special assistance, do not feel comfortable using the online services or don’t have internet access. By offering this in-person payment option we ensure that everyone can be served safely and conveniently.”

    City staff continues to investigate ways to safely reopen the rest of the building after the property tax season. In the meantime, staff are available via phone or email, and the many online services will continue to be available at portalberni.ca/online-services.

    Please be reminded that the property tax deadline is July 2, 2020.

    ##

    For More Information

    Andrew McGifford, Director of Finance

    City of Port Alberni

    250-720-2821

    andrew_mcgifford@portalberni.ca

  • Limited Visitor Access and Basic Services Resume at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

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    6 days ago

    Starting June 4, 2020, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve will offer limited visitor access and basic services.

    Visitors will be able to access the following services and facilities:

    Select parking areas, beach accesses and nearby washroom facilities in the Long Beach Unit, including:

    • Long Beach North
    • Long Beach South
    • Wickaninnish Beach

    Select day-use trails in the Long Beach Unit, including:

    • Rainforest Trail A and B
    • Shorepine Bog Trail

    Until June 4, these facilities remain closed and we ask that visitors respect these closures in order to allow park staff to do the necessary work to prepare for opening.

    In addition...

    Starting June 4, 2020, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve will offer limited visitor access and basic services.

    Visitors will be able to access the following services and facilities:

    Select parking areas, beach accesses and nearby washroom facilities in the Long Beach Unit, including:

    • Long Beach North
    • Long Beach South
    • Wickaninnish Beach

    Select day-use trails in the Long Beach Unit, including:

    • Rainforest Trail A and B
    • Shorepine Bog Trail

    Until June 4, these facilities remain closed and we ask that visitors respect these closures in order to allow park staff to do the necessary work to prepare for opening.

    In addition, Green Point Campground in the Long Beach Unit remains closed until at least June 21. Camping in other areas of the national park reserve, including the West Coast Trail, Keeha Beach, and Broken Group Islands, remains suspended until Parks Canada and First Nations assess how these backcountry services might resume.

    Visiting Pacific Rim National Park Reserve will be different than it has been in the past. Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve website before they travel to find out:

    • what is open
    • what they can expect
    • how to prepare for their visit

    The health and safety of visitors and employees is of utmost importance to the Government of Canada. Parks Canada is following the advice of public health experts and continues to make every effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should follow the advice of public health experts, including necessary hygiene practices and physical distancing of two metres from others.

    Safety is a shared responsibility. Parks Canada is asking Canadians to be cautious and conservative in their use of these places, to observe any regional or provincial travel restrictions and to respect any closures that are in place. Anyone participating in recreational activities should be extra cautious to avoid injury and/or getting lost to help minimize the demands placed on search and rescue teams and on the health care system.

    Detailed information on Parks Canada places and the measures the Agency is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the Parks Canada website. Please check regularly for updates.

  • Premier's statement on racism in B.C. during COVID-19

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    11 days ago

    Premier John Horgan has released the following statement about racist activity in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    “Everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. Yet we are hearing disturbing stories of a rise in anti-Asian racist behaviour since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “People are being targeted as they go about their daily lives. It is unacceptable. I have said it before: hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated. Our strength is in our diversity and we reject all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry.

    “Racism...

    Premier John Horgan has released the following statement about racist activity in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    “Everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. Yet we are hearing disturbing stories of a rise in anti-Asian racist behaviour since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “People are being targeted as they go about their daily lives. It is unacceptable. I have said it before: hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated. Our strength is in our diversity and we reject all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry.

    “Racism is also a virus. Through challenging times, British Columbians must stay united. We are always stronger and more resilient as a province when we treat each other with kindness, generosity and respect. To do so, we must all stand together to call out racism and discrimination when we see it.”

  • BC Transit Announces Recovery Plan

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    11 days ago

    On May 21, 2020, BC Transit announced their Recovery Plan. They will follow the guidance of the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC, and draw on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide. They will continue with many of the measures put in place to respond to COVID-19, and are implementing some additional practices and procedures to align with BC’s Restart Plan.

    Measures already in place that will continue:

    • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization on buses and at BC Transit facilities
    • Rear door loading and ceasing fare collection (until May 31, 2020)
    • Limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing
    • A red...

    On May 21, 2020, BC Transit announced their Recovery Plan. They will follow the guidance of the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC, and draw on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide. They will continue with many of the measures put in place to respond to COVID-19, and are implementing some additional practices and procedures to align with BC’s Restart Plan.

    Measures already in place that will continue:

    • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization on buses and at BC Transit facilities
    • Rear door loading and ceasing fare collection (until May 31, 2020)
    • Limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing
    • A red line on floor at front of bus indicates passengers to stand behind
    • Additional personal protective equipment for handyDART transit operators
    • Communication to staff and customers to encourage behaviours that contribute to the safety of themselves, our operators and fellow passengers:
    • Practicing physical distancing when possible
    • Standing behind the red line to give your driver space
    • Moving to an open space if available o Avoiding touching your face
    • Practicing proper hand hygiene and coughing or sneezing into the bend of your arm
    • Staying home if you are feeling unwell

    The following procedures will be in place to align with BC’s Restart Plan:

    • Capacity management:
    • BC Transit will continue to target a comfortable capacity on buses
    • Capacity will be managed by shifting demand to times and places where there is extra capacity
    • Operators will manage bus capacity
    • In communities with NextRide, riders will be encouraged to check for capacity conditions in advance of boarding
    • The use of face coverings will be encouraged on buses and at bus stops where physical distancing is not possible
    • Additional signage will be put in place across the province to promote these practices
    • Resuming front door loading and fare collection (effective June 1, 2020)
    • Entering only at the front and exiting only at the rear door to get more one way flow, with the exception of mobility aids (effective June 1, 2020)
    • An exception will be made for customers with mobility aids to exit through the front of the bus
    • Protective barriers for operators in the form of vinyl panels or full driver doors
    • Timeline for installation of full driver door protective barriers on buses will be accelerated
  • School District 70: Restart June 1

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    11 days ago

    On May 21, 2020, School District 70 Superintendent, Greg Smyth sent a letter to all parents/guardians and students regarding the District’s Restart Plan. Parents and students will have a choice to return to in-class instruction starting June 1. This is a partial, gradual and voluntary restart. Students K – 5 may return to school for the equivalent of 2 days per week and one day per week for Grades 6 -7. To help with the development of a school-specific plan, parents who would like their children to return to school are asked to complete the Online Voluntary Return to School...

    On May 21, 2020, School District 70 Superintendent, Greg Smyth sent a letter to all parents/guardians and students regarding the District’s Restart Plan. Parents and students will have a choice to return to in-class instruction starting June 1. This is a partial, gradual and voluntary restart. Students K – 5 may return to school for the equivalent of 2 days per week and one day per week for Grades 6 -7. To help with the development of a school-specific plan, parents who would like their children to return to school are asked to complete the Online Voluntary Return to School Request form by 3:00 pm on Monday, May 25. ADSS and USS students will continue with their currently delivery models and teachers will be available Monday – Thursday mornings for tutorials to assist students in learning.

    For further information or to complete the online form, please visit: www.sd70.bc.ca

  • Remote Execution of Legal Documents during Pandemic

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    12 days ago

    The Provincial Government has issued two emergency orders that temporarily suspend in-person execution requirements for wills and personal planning instruments, including representation agreements and enduring powers of attorney.

    The emergency orders address concerns raised by the legal community, including the regulatory bodies and representative associations for lawyers and notaries public, as well as by members of the public, regarding the requirement that such legal documents be executed and witnessed in person.

    The new orders benefit both legal professionals and their clients, particularly seniors and immuno-compromised people who may be hesitant to travel into more populated areas during the COVID-19 pandemic...

    The Provincial Government has issued two emergency orders that temporarily suspend in-person execution requirements for wills and personal planning instruments, including representation agreements and enduring powers of attorney.

    The emergency orders address concerns raised by the legal community, including the regulatory bodies and representative associations for lawyers and notaries public, as well as by members of the public, regarding the requirement that such legal documents be executed and witnessed in person.

    The new orders benefit both legal professionals and their clients, particularly seniors and immuno-compromised people who may be hesitant to travel into more populated areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as British Columbians who live in rural and remote areas and are trying to limit travel outside of their communities.

    Under the orders, which are effective as of May 19, 2020, careful safeguards will be established to reduce fraud, including ensuring legal professionals (lawyers and notaries public) are involved in remote execution; prescribing the circumstances in which documents can be executed remotely; and providing strict parameters and requirements around remote execution.

    The emergency orders are tied to the provincial state of emergency and will expire when it is lifted.

    Read the emergency orders here:

    http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/mo/mo/2020_m161

    http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/mo/mo/2020_m162

  • Island Health Lifts Restrictions for Gyms and Fitness Centres

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    12 days ago

    Island Health’s Medical Health Officer has lifted the order that closed all gyms, fitness centres, yoga studios or similar personal training facilities, effective May 19.

    The order, issued April 2, is being rescinded in accordance with Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan. These facilities will be permitted to re-open provided they can meet provincial requirements to protect staff and clients against the spread of COVID-19.

    Any facility wishing to resume operation must develop a plan that follows safety measures laid out by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC.

    Guidance for facility operators and for the public related to gyms and...

    Island Health’s Medical Health Officer has lifted the order that closed all gyms, fitness centres, yoga studios or similar personal training facilities, effective May 19.

    The order, issued April 2, is being rescinded in accordance with Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan. These facilities will be permitted to re-open provided they can meet provincial requirements to protect staff and clients against the spread of COVID-19.

    Any facility wishing to resume operation must develop a plan that follows safety measures laid out by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC.

    Guidance for facility operators and for the public related to gyms and other fitness facilities is now available on the Island Health website.

    For more information about COVID-19, please visit islandhealth.ca/covid19.

  • Province announces Pandemic Pay

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    12 days ago

    Health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people will receive a financial boost through temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay.

    “From care aids to domestic violence workers, to people working in corrections and others delivering essential addictions and mental health supports, our front-line workers are providing vital support to people who are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “Temporary pandemic pay recognizes all that our health and social service workers do to help keep people healthy, our communities running and deliver important care and services to the most...

    Health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people will receive a financial boost through temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay.

    “From care aids to domestic violence workers, to people working in corrections and others delivering essential addictions and mental health supports, our front-line workers are providing vital support to people who are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “Temporary pandemic pay recognizes all that our health and social service workers do to help keep people healthy, our communities running and deliver important care and services to the most vulnerable during this challenging time.”

    As part of a cost-shared program with the federal government, temporary pandemic pay will support people working on the front lines in B.C.’s health-care system, social services and corrections. This includes workers delivering a range of health and social services to people most vulnerable to COVID-19.

    More than 250,000 eligible front-line workers will receive temporary pandemic pay, a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020. Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer and do not need to apply.

    “People at the front lines of the pandemic are working tirelessly to keep us and our loved ones healthy, while also delivering services to the most vulnerable in our community,” James said. “This cost-shared program with the federal government will benefit thousands of British Columbia’s front-line health and social service workers.”

    Temporary pandemic pay is part of government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide relief to people, communities and businesses in British Columbia. It builds off the planned minimum wage increase set for June 1, 2020, and existing supports for people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers and the enhanced B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit boost in July 2020, which doubles the annual benefit for low- and middle-income people.

    Learn More:

    To learn more about temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/pandemicpay

  • A Message from BC Parks: Reopening

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    14 days ago

    On May 14, BC Parks reopened the majority of provincial parks. BC Parks staff and park operators are looking forward to welcoming you back into our provincial parks, protected areas and marine parks!

    For a list of parks re-opening on May 14, visit http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/parks-affected/ For Frequently Asked Questions, visit: http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/questions-answers/

    Most provincial parks will open for day use only on May 14 and most campgrounds and backcountry camping will open on June 1. The Discover Camping reservation system will be back online on May 25 at 7:00 am to accept camping reservations.

    We’ll do everything we can to ensure parks...

    On May 14, BC Parks reopened the majority of provincial parks. BC Parks staff and park operators are looking forward to welcoming you back into our provincial parks, protected areas and marine parks!

    For a list of parks re-opening on May 14, visit http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/parks-affected/ For Frequently Asked Questions, visit: http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/questions-answers/

    Most provincial parks will open for day use only on May 14 and most campgrounds and backcountry camping will open on June 1. The Discover Camping reservation system will be back online on May 25 at 7:00 am to accept camping reservations.

    We’ll do everything we can to ensure parks are safe, but visitors are reminded they are responsible for their own safety and to practice physical distancing by giving extra space when passing people on trails and in parking lots and practicing appropriate hygiene. In keeping with public health guidelines around non-essential travel, people are urged to only visit a park close to their home and avoid travelling to small communities. Some parks will remain closed at this time.

    We are all in this together, and we are counting on everyone to do their part so our parks can stay open!


    For additional information, refer to: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0026-000826