Sooke Municipal Hall is closed to the public to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The library and SEAPARC are shuttered too.
But municipal services are still available to residents, with the District of Sooke ramping up its capability to serve the public remotely. Residents are encouraged to contact municipal staff by email or telephone.
Officials said plans could quickly change, but here’s a rundown of district plans on Tuesday.
• Council meetings are cancelled for at least 30 days.
• District of Sooke Municipal Hall at 2205 Otter Point Rd. is closed to the public.
• All municipally-operated parks washrooms are closed.
• Sooke Fire Hall is closed to the public.
• Sooke Fire Rescue personnel will continue to serve the community and respond to emergencies.
• District staff will continue operation of the wastewater treatment plant.
• The District Emergency Operations Centre is activated for level one response and will continue to monitor and act on information and directives from federal and provincial agencies. The EOC is not open to the public.
These actions reinforce the public health recommendation to practice social distancing to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the current threat in Sooke is low, these are unified and cautionary measures, the district stated in a press release.
“This action is not intended to panic residents but provide some assurance that the situation is being heavily monitored,” Matt Barney, EOC director, said.
Mayor Maja Tait said, if necessary, council will meet through tele-conferencing. Council must pass its five year financial plan by May 15, plus other legislation.
“It is important to take every precaution to help keep our community safe by reducing opportunities for contact,” Tait said. “In doing so, we help protect all Canadians. Getting ahead of this is hugely dependent on a cohesive approach, and the district is on board with nationwide efforts to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, several other institutions and businesses have announced closures, and many community events cancelled.
• The Capital Regional District closed all recreation facilities on Tuesday, including SEAPARC in Sooke.
• The Sooke Region Museum is closed until further notice.
• The Vancouver Island Regional Library closed Monday. The library also cancelled all programs until further notice.
• The Sooke branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will stay closed until April 1.
• Sooke Philharmonic Society cancelled the performance of Mozart’s Requiem scheduled for April 4 and 5. The society hopes to reschedule the performance.
• The Sooke Food & Brew Festival scheduled for March 21 at the West Coast Grill was cancelled last week.
• Singer Bryce Allan cancelled his Country Night concert at Edward Milne Community School Theatre planned for April 4.
• The Sooke Transition House Society postponed its Beer and Burger Night at the Royal Canadian Legion set for Saturday (March 21).
• The Sooke Harbourside Lions will not hold its annual Duck Race this year.
• The ARTiFACTS art show at Sooke Region Museum planned for March 21 to May 12 is cancelled.
• Several business have also announced closures, including Little Vienna Bakery, Mom’s Cafe, and Suds and Pups’ dog wash.