Salt Spring shuts down as province declares health emergency
Announcements of closures on Salt Spring Island streamed in through the day Tuesday, with numerous organizations, restaurants and offices heeding government and health authority calls for everyone to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The provincial government declared a public health emergency on Tuesday afternoon, which gives provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry broader powers to help combat the virus.
Even before Henry provided the latest COVID-19 case figures — 83 new confirmed cases for a total of 186 in the province — B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming announced that the province’s schools would be closed “indefinitely.” Once spring break period is over, learning will be done online, although the details still need to be worked out. All students will receive a grade and all Grade 12 students will graduate this year, Fleming confirmed.
The Vancouver Island health region now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
On Salt Spring Island:
• As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre was closed.
• PARC’s spring break camps will remain in operation until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, pending further direction from the provincial government. PARC’s Facebook page clarified: “We encourage parents to make other child care arrangements and expect that day camps could close at any time. Please note that PARC will not accept any new registrations for spring break camps. We recognize many families and individuals rely on our recreation programs and services, and we ask for your patience while we continue to determine next steps as more information is made available. Credits will be issued for programs and activities affected by the closure. CRD staff will automatically apply the appropriate credit to your account. There is no need to contact us to cancel. Membership passes will be extended.”
• The Saturday Market in the Park will not commence on April 4 as scheduled.
• As of Tuesday, ArtSpring was closed indefinitely.
• The Salt Spring Public Library will close as of noon on Wednesday, March 18. Until Monday the library was following the lead of other libraries in the province and remaining open for patrons with modifications to seating and computer layout in the facility.
• The Salt Spring Islands Trust office is closed to walk-in traffic and the March 24 Local Trust Committee meeting is cancelled.
• The North Salt Spring Waterworks District office is closed to walk-in traffic.
• The Ganges Visitors Centre is closed.
• Numerous restaurants have closed or are limiting services to take-out and/or delivery only.
• The Fritz Cinema is closed.
• The Royal Canadian Legion closed on Wednesday.
• Salt Spring Island Community Services will continue to operate the food bank on Tuesdays but orders and pick-ups will be outdoors and choices will be restricted. For people who are not able to make it to Community Services on Tuesdays, a limited number of pre-filled food bags are available at the main building at 268 Fulford-Ganges Rd.
• Island Health has limited the number of visitors entering its buildings and hospital units, with just one adult caregiver or support person permitted for each patient in most areas. Exceptions are that two caregivers per patient will be permitted in neonatal intensive care units and in long-term care facilities.
• At Greenwoods, essential visits only are allowed. Those are defined as compassionate visits for end-of-life care and visits that directly support residents’ care plans.
• All front-counter services of the Salt Spring RCMP office are not available at this time. The detachment also issued a press release.
Note: The Wednesday, March 18 print version of the Driftwood will contain outdated information in light of changes that occurred after press time.