City of Vernon Ambassadors will be donning green T-shirts this Easter long weekend and reminding residents to maintain social distancing at local parks. (Photo submitted)

City of Vernon encourages safe Easter long weekend amid COVID-19

‘This is the time we need to celebrate each other,’ Vernon Mayor says

This Easter long weekend will certainly look a lot different compared to years past due to the novel coronavirus.

Traditions are being placed on hold and people are forced to spend time away from loved ones.

“We know this weekend may be difficult for many,” Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said. “A lot of us are used to spending long weekends with extended family or close friends. Many of us had plans to travel over Easter. We know this time apart may be tough but it is a must.”

“This week, Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer, gave us some good news,” the mayor said.

“She said the actions we are taking – maintaining our physical distance and staying home as much as possible – appear to be making a difference. We need to stay the course. We need to stay apart from one another, even during this holiday weekend. But again, we need to stay connected.”

Dr. Henry asked all British Columbians to cancel all non-essential travel, particularly to small communities or remote areas, such as family or vacation homes.

These places, she said, have less capacity to respond to medical emergencies.

Those who observe religious celebrations are asked to celebrate virtually, using technology to fill the gap where people would normally congregate.

Mayor Cumming emphasized the necessity of physical distancing when he said: “Instead of hosting a gathering of people – or visiting someone else’s home – consider taking part in a virtual gathering. Call, email or video chat with friends and family. Check-in on your neighbour. Post a note of encouragement to a First Responder or health-care worker.

The City of Vernon will be posting #WhiteHeartsforVJH at city facilities with thank-you messages. Residents interested in participating in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundations’ White Heart campaign can do so by visiting whiteheartsforvjh.ca.

Parks

As the weather warms and spring officially here, the City of Vernon is anticipating residents to enjoy city parks and trails as they remain open in places where physical distancing can still be maintained.

While visiting city parks such as Polson Park, Kin Beach Park and Marshall Fields, residents may see City of Vernon Ambassadors riding bicycles in bright green T-shirts encouraging people to keep their distance while enjoying the sites in a safe and healthy manner.

Ambassadors will be in teams of two, according to the city, and will be spending time in public spaces over the Easter long weekend.

The city urges residents to visit parks only with people from their household.

“If you come across people from another household, maintain at least two metres between each other,” the city said in a statement. “Please do not gather in groups.”

Campfires

Small backyard campfires are still OK, but all open burn permits were cancelled last month. Backyard campfires must still adhere to the Good Neighbour Bylaw and Fire Services Bylaw.

“This is the time we need to celebrate each other and acknowledge how we are coming together as a community and making a difference,” Mayor Cumming said.

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