The City of Fernie has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in support of Provincial measures responding to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The EOC provides a central point of information sharing, planning, and coordination for the municipality, and ensures coordination across all local, regional and provincial agencies involved at this time. The City of Fernie is committed to working with the lead agencies in reducing the impact of COVID-19 in our community to protect the health and safety of our citizens.

Mayor Ange Qualizza says, “Our goal through this situation has been to be prepared. The focus of our response remains protecting the health and safety of our employees and the community, The EOC in Fernie will assist us in having an enhanced level of coordination in response to this emerging situation.”

Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act a number of orders were issued by the Province to ensure a continued coordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government. The City of Fernie is proud to note that through our Emergency Operations Centre and City Operations we are already delivering on a number of the orders issued.

The City of Fernie will continue working in conjunction with other local and regional agencies and through our EOC to ensure we are supporting all the ministerial orders for the duration of the provincial emergency.

City Bylaw Officers Enforcing Public Health Orders

Municipal Bylaw Officers across BC have been directed by the Province to help enforce the ministerial orders issued related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The City of Fernie Bylaw Officers are actively working with businesses and the general public to ensure that everyone is aware of, and complying with, provincial directives including: physical distancing requirements, no gatherings over 50 people, and mandated business closures.

The Bylaw team are regularly visiting closed playgrounds, play structures and sports fields to make sure that the closures are being respected, and are also patrolling public spaces through out Fernie to ensure that the public are practicing physical distancing.

Bylaw Officers have also visited hair salons, tattoo parlours, massage therapy businesses and fitness facilities to ensure that the closures mandated by the Province are in place. They are also visiting businesses that are still open to make sure they are exercising the proper spacing between customers.

Bylaw Officers continue to enforce existing City of Fernie Bylaws during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

If you have concerns regarding compliance with any of the Public Health Officer’s orders, please contact bylawservices@fernie.ca.

Elk Valley Hospital Update
See the April 1, 2020 PLEA from the Elk Valley Physicians – We can do this together

Fernie Tourism and Chamber of Commerce Business Summary
Tourism Fernie in collaboration with the Fernie Chamber has created a list to track what local businesses are offering during the COVID-19 pandemic. See it here: BusinessOpen-Closed_Fernie-COVID19-Apr_1-2

Playgrounds and Park structures closed:
Effective immediately all playgrounds and play structures in the City of Fernie are closed. Parks and trails remain open, but all public washrooms are closed.
Please stay home where possible, and practice social distancing when you must go out.

BC State of Emergency
The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of emergency to support the provincewide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read the announcement and important Covid-19 information here.

Elk Valley Hospital Update
See this important information from the Elk Valley Hospital Physicians: Physician Update Covid-19 March 16

Extends Deadline and Waives Penalty for Outstanding Utility Fees
The City of Fernie has taken the first step in providing direct relief to residents and businesses by extending the due date for first quarter utility invoices from March 31 to April 30, 2020. Council also authorized that the City waive the 5% penalty charged on outstanding amounts until the new April 30 deadline.

The City recognizes that these types of steps provide some immediate relief for residents and businesses who have been impacted by the recent events of COVID-19. The City remains committed to working with the community to advocate for additional support from the Provincial and Federal Government.

Mayor Ange Qualizza says, “I am encouraged by the messaging from the Province and the Government of Canada, they are committing to engaging local government and have provided us an opportunity to have our questions and concerns heard. I am committed to ensuring our needs and concerns are represented and will work tirelessly to support Fernie through this emergency.”

Council also moved forward with a number of amendments to the Council Procedures Bylaw to improve the City’s ability to facilitate online meetings of Council. These changes are significant and will ensure Council’s ability to keep moving business during this provincial state of emergency. These will come forward for adoption at a future Council meeting and are also bolstered by policy changes aimed at supporting social distancing at Council meetings during this public health emergency.

Council encourages all residents and visitors to review provincial and federal guidelines and directives and to join us in protecting the health of the community.

For regular updates on the local COVID-19 situation click here.

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