The Mountaineer’s daily COVID-19 update is a community collaboration, providing a centralized information resource highlighting Revelstoke’s response to the public health and economic crisis.
In today’s update we look at the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism and restaurant industries, Interior Health says there are no outbreaks in any of its long-term care facilities, Community Connections moves its Food Bank and Food Recovery programs outdoors to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to spread and the provincial government freezes rent increases and announces financial aid for renters.
Revelstoke retail businesses finding ways to adapt
Sara Sansom, a downtown retailer and owner of Birch & Lace salon, shared her business adaptation plan with the Mountaineer. She’s divided up the plan into human capital, operations, marketing, finance and education as she steers the business into the storm. The focus of phase one of the plan is weathering the first storm.
“After making the decision to close our doors on March 17, I have been focused on damage control first, survival mode second,” Sansom told the Mountaineer. “[I’m] taking care of my team to the best of my ability, cancelling any unncessary bills and then quickly adapting to an online retail store, which has kept me busy over the last nine days.”
Sansom offers a line of plastic-packaging-free personal and household cleaning products, which have been popular given our added time at home and renewed focus on virus-preventing hygeine, such as cleaning and washing hands.
She’s taking orders online, and even delivers bulk orders to local residences, making sure the reusable products are sanitized appropriately for delivery. She’s working on populating her online store with new products each day. Find out more at the Birch & Lace website. http://birchandlacesalon.com/salon
Fourth heli-skiing company has COVID-19 positive guest
A fourth Revelstoke-area heli-skiing company has reported a guest at the heli-skiing company has tested positive for COVID-19.
A guest who stayed with Mica Heliskiing, whose remote lodge is located north of Revelstoke near the Mica Dam, tested positive after leaving the lodge.
Mica spokesperson Nicole Fricot said the guest contacted the lodge on March 14 to say he was sick, then contacted them on March 21 confirming he’d tested positive for COVID-19.
This brings the total of four confirmed cases of COVID-19 related to heli-skiing guests in the Revelstoke area. Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing, Eagle Pass Heliskiing and Canadian Mountain Holidays have previously confirmed they each had a case of a guest who tested positive after leaving Revelstoke.
According to provincial authorities, the cases are not counted in official statistics reported out each day for COVID-19 cases in Interior Health do not include individuals who have left the country.
Tourism, restaurant industry among hardest hit
Tourism Revelstoke says it is currently not encouraging any visitors, but will continuing to offer resourcess to travellers currently in Revelstoke.
Both the tourism sector and the restaurant industry have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in B.C. Under the orders of B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, restaurants are no longer able to offer dine-in service and may only offer take-out or delivery options. The tourism sector is struggling as border closures and travel bans have decimited international visitors leading to the closure of hotels and tourist attractions.
A statement on the Tourism Revelstoke website asks visitors to follow the advice of health professionals while participating in activities and to adhere to social distancing.
In a response to B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan, the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. says “while the province’s $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan is a positive first step, it is keen to work with government on further measures needed to help BC’s visitor economy survive the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”The association said an estimated 200,000 plus workers have already been laid off as tourism and hospitality businesses either significantly reduce operations or close. The tourism industry brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and is one of the province’stop three business sectors.
In a March 15, 2020 letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan, the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association says the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in double-digit declines in both sales and guest-count in the restaurant industry.
“Our industry has never faced this type of crisis before,” the letter states.
No COVID-19 cases in Revelstoke long-term care facilities
There are currently no COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities in the Interior Health region. An Interior Health spokesperson told the Mountaineer the majority of COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and there is one outbreak in the Fraser Health Region.
Interior Health is currently limiting the number of visitors entering all sites, including long-term care facilities, to essential visits only. Essential visits include visits for compassionate care (e.g. end of life and critical illness), visits considered paramount to patient/client care and well being (caregivers and support persons) such as assistance with feeding or mobility. To further limit the number of people entering sites at this time, the same caregiver or support person should attend each essential visit wherever possible. Patient navigators will be at entrances of all facilities to ensure visitors are aware of the new restrictions. More details and information can be found at interiorhealth.ca.
B.C. government announces aid for renters affected by COVID-19
The provincial government has announced a new supplement to help renters affected by COVID-19. The $500 a month rent supplement will help renters experiencing a loss of income by helping them pay their rent. The funds will be paid directly to landlord on behalf of renters, to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. The supplement is available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
In addition to the rent supplement, the B.C. government also announced a freeze on all rent increases, as well as halting all evictions, except in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or prevent undue damage to the property.
More information about rent supplements and the freeze on rent increases is available here.
Community Connections amalgamates Food Bank, Food Recovery
Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society has amalgamated its Food Bank and Food Recovery Programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The change is to lessen the potential for spreading the COVID-19 virus while still offering food for those in the community who need it.
Daily food pick ups take place Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the back alley of Community Connections at 314 Second Street East. Enter via Robson Avenue or McArthur Avenue. Parking is available in the First Street parking lot.
Free public transportation in Revelstoke
All public transit in Revelstoke, including HandyDART is now free. Buses are being cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day. New schedules and routes are being implemented starting Monday, April 6. More details are available on the BC Transit website.
Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre closed to all users
The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre will be closed to all users beginning Friday, March 27 at 12 p.m. The board of directors made the decision to close the arts centre in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The arts centre will re-open once it is deemed safe by health authorities. Private studio rent will not be charged for April and subsequent months if the closure continues. Wood shop users will receive a credit for the first month when the centre re-opens.
Have an update on COVID-19 you want to share?
Revelstoke, we need your help to keep the daily COVID-19 updates going. Each day, we will compile newsworthy local briefs about COVID-19, highlighting Revelstoke’s response. Do you know of a business that has gone out of its way to help customers? Maybe they are offering no contact delivery or have set aside a specific shopping time dedicated to seniors, people with compromised immune systems or health industry workers? Do you know an individual making a difference in others’ lives? We want to know about it!
How can I make a submission?
The Mountaineer is only accepting submissions for the daily Revelstoke COVID-19 update via our Submit-a-Story feature (here’s the link: https://revelstokemountaineer.com/submit-a-story/). All submissions require a photo and a write-up of around 200 words.
Due to limited resources emailed submissions will not be accepted for inclusion in the daily update.