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Vancouver mayor prepares to declare state of emergency due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 3:08 pm PDT

(Courtesy: Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has declared a city-wide state of emergency

A special city council meeting will be held Thursday so action can be taken against people

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he hopes to declare a state of emergency for the City of Vancouver.

The mayor says council will hold a special virtual meeting Thursday to endorse the declaration and determine when it will take effect.

The announcement comes after some restaurants stayed open Tuesday, despite orders to close because of COVID-19.

“If you can guarantee the physical distance is maintained, I’m sure it’s fine to operate until we get directions otherwise and again, if you’re a client or a customer going in and you notice a store is full, don’t go in, keep the distance,” he says.

Stewart says he is also seeking support from Ottawa and Victoria to make sure no one loses their home because of this pandemic.

“We can work together to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s happened in provinces across Canada now. We need this power here. There will be protection for tenants and from the federal level. We’ve heard that there are going to be mortgage protections brought in by the banks and by the federal government, as well.”

In the Downtown Eastside, 11 hand-washing stations have been set up and three community centres are still open, but most non-essential facilities are now closed.

Stewart is also threatening action if hoarding doesn’t stop, adding he has been concerned people are not taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously.

RELATED ARTICLE: B.C. declares a provincial state of emergency

Within the same hour of the city’s announcement, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a state of emergency in B.C.

The provincial declaration will allow the preservation of supply chains delivering groceries and other essential items.

The move follows Tuesday’s declaration of a public health emergency in B.C. over COVID-19.

As for how the province-wide declaration differs from the city’s announcement, Stewart says more precautions are needed in Vancouver.

The first death from COVID-19 in Quebec was reported Wednesday, the ninth in Canada related to coronavirus, including seven in B.C. and one in Ontario.


-With files from Mike Hall and The Canadian Press