Sidney has restricted public access to all municipal buildings, including Town Hall. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sidney Emergency Operations Centre focuses on ‘preparation, not panic’ amid COVID-19 crisis

Residents encouraged to practice social distancing, take care of one another

The Town of Sidney’s COVID-19 response comes with a key message: “Preparation, not panic.”

Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble explained that updates, advisories and information about the town’s response have been posted to the Sidney website twice a day since March 4.

On March 12, the Town activated the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Level 1 which included monitoring the outbreak, keeping residents informed, guiding municipal staff, promoting business continuity and working with stakeholders including care homes, Washington State Ferries and Island Health.

READ ALSO: Retail expert warns of serious consequences for Sidney because of COVID-19

In the following days, community and visitor centres closed, public access to municipal buildings was restricted, playgrounds and skate parks shut down and the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP reduced front-counter service to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Council meetings will continue, though councillors will vote to pass a bylaw permitting electronic meetings in the coming week, Humble said. Residents are encouraged to watch from home via Livestream.

READ ALSO: Grocery stores hiring more staff, offer wage boost as B.C. adapts to COVID-19 buying habits

By March 17, EOC Level 2 had been activated – this included adding a Recovery Planning Section Chief position to the team.

Chief Brett Mikkelsen of the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department explained that the pandemic situation has evolved quickly but that the Town’s staff have been working hard on pre-planning.

Sidney EOC is operating seven days a week and planning about 14 to 28 days ahead in terms of provisions and service, he said.

READ ALSO: View Royal families thank hospital staff working through COVID-19 with colourful signs

Communication from the province has been “great” and EOCs throughout the region have been collaborating in what Humble feels is an unprecedented manner. He added that Sidney’s business community has also been heavily involved in recovery planning so that everyone is ready to get back up and running when things eventually go back to normal.

For now, Sidney residents are asked to practice social distancing, check-in with one another safely and avoid flushing wipes or paper towels as they block the sewer system. Those who are able to help can make donations to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank online at splfoodbank.com/donate or by phone 250-655-0679 and any seniors in need of information or assistance can call the Beacon Community Services for help at 250-655-5537.

READ ALSO: Public life grinding to a halt on the Saanich Peninsula

“People are understandably on edge, but social distancing doesn’t mean isolation,” Mikkelsen said, explaining that there are psychosocial components to disaster events that need to be managed.

First responders and residents alike may have a hard time with the uncertainty as the virus is an unseen threat, he explained. Mikkelsen recommends that residents stay tuned in to government advisories but also “focus on future fun” by planning something enjoyable for a few months from now.

For up to date information on Sidney’s COVID-19 response, visit sidney.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusSaanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read