COVID-19: Vancouver city council unanimously approves state of emergency as Surrey closes daycares

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      Vancouver has officially declared a state of emergency while Surrey is closing down more civic-run facilities. 

      At a special virtual meeting called by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, city council voted unanimously today (March 19) to approve the declaration of a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      The declaration, which came into immediate effect, enables the city to take action against businesses that defy orders to close, to stop hoarding by shoppers by setting limits on the sale of specific products, and gives frontline municipal workers powers to ensure that essential services are provided.

      The city is also asking the province for special powers, including acquiring or using land or personal property to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of the emergency; buying any clothing, equipment, medical supplies, or essential supplies on a first-priority basis, and restricting the use or occupancy of any premises in the City of Vancouver.

      Meanwhile, Surrey mayor Doug McCallum held a news conference today (March 19) to announce that the City of Surrey all civic-run day camps and daycare centres (which were previously announced on March 16 to be continuing on until further notice) will be closed on Monday (March 23).

      All parks, playgrounds, and beaches will remain open but he encouraged social distancing.

      Core services and operations are being maintained.

      On March 16, the Surrey mayor ordered all civic recreation centres, ice arenas, culture facilities and museums, pools, and libraries to close. 

      Yesterday (March 18), the B.C. government declared a state of emergency, following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s declaration of a provincial health emergency on March 17.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook