Three popular hot spots in the Vernon Aquatic Centre at the Vernon Recreation Complex have been closed indefinitely to promote social distancing in the wake of COVID-19.
The aquatic centre’s hot tub, steam room and sauna were shut down until further notice effective Sunday, March 15.
A sign greets customers at the rec centre’s front window that states, “As advised by the Canadian Lifesaving Society, the hot tub, steam room and sauna will be closed until further notice.”
“Although our hot tub is a moderate size, the closure of the tub is being done out of an abundance of caution,” said City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirier.
The lap pool, leisure pool and weight room remain open for the time being.
At this time, recreation services’ programs, lessons and camps are still going ahead as planned. While swimming lessons will not be impacted, Poirier said recreation services will be limiting the number of people that are provided entry to the aquatic centre for public swimming in order to ensure that there are not more than 250 people in the facility at any given time.
“The public is reminded that if they are not feeling well, they should stay home and not choose to participate until they are feeling well again,” said Poirier.
The city has implemented several actions in response to the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Canada.
The city is following its Pandemic Plan, which is a document that provides the corporation with a business continuity strategy to maintain core city services amidst the possibility of widespread illness in the community.
It has also taken intentional steps to reduce the spread of infection in city facilities and encourage individuals to follow safe practices to help protect its employees, citizens and visitors. The following steps have been taken:
*Signage has been posted at every city facility, notifying employees and visitors: please do not enter the facility if you are sick, or have been in contact with someone who is sick;
* How to practice sound handwashing techniques; information on COVID-19, its symptoms and how to reduce the spread of infection; and,
* Please practice social distancing while visiting city front-counter areas.
A number of public events have been canceled, following the March 12, 2020 direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. Provincial Health Officer, to cancel all indoor and outdoor events of more than 250 people. The direction by Dr. Henry does not apply to workplaces or educational institutions at this time.
Additional measures are being taken to disinfect public spaces at city facilities, in particular, common touchpoints like light switches, door handles, countertops, etc.
During a public health event in the Okanagan, Interior Health is the authority, and general community impact of the virus on residents is within their purview. The City of Vernon’s role is to ensure essential public services are delivered and operate smoothly, to keep facilities safe and to keep employees healthy.
“The city is in regular contact with the Interior Health Authority and Emergency Management BC, and continues to take its directions from the B.C. Ministry of Health and Public Health Agency of Canada,” said Poirier. “We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding as we continue to adapt to this changing situation.”