I would like to reflect on the effect COVID-19 has had on our community and how we can support each other through this difficult time.

Our front-line health care workers have been here to look after all of us. They face daily risks to their physical and mental well-being. They deserve our sincere appreciation, respect and support.

Many of our local businesses have closed due to provincial orders to do so. This has left many members of our community without jobs and put businesses at risk. Those that remain open have adjusted their hours and have done an amazing job of putting social distancing measures in place to protect their staff and customers. They are doing all they can to ensure we have what we need locally.

We have seen members of our community step up, volunteering to shop and run errands for the vulnerable or for those in self-isolation.

All levels of government have been working together, as have organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Union of BC Municipalities, to find ways to help those most affected.

Locally, municipal staff have been participating in weekly calls with the Emergency Operations Centre out of Nelson to discuss the issues on the ground. CAO Dunlop and I have also been on weekly calls with Hon. Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to get updates and to discuss issues as they arise.

Council has also been working with staff to find areas in the budget to make reductions that will ease the burden on taxpayers this year, while still maintaining the services that residents expect. We are also hoping to be able to undertake some projects that may provide local employment later in the year. These would be funded through a combination of grants and reserve funding.

What can you do to support your community now and into the future?

Offer to run errands for a neighbour who can’t get out themselves.

Call those who you know are alone and would like to hear a friendly voice.

Help with chores for those who are unable to do them or to afford to hire someone.

Donate to or volunteer at our local food hub.

Shop locally now and in the future to assist with our community recovery.

In comparison to what is being done by those working front-line and essential jobs, and the volunteers in our community, our individual task this weekend and beyond is easy – please stay home. If you must go out, keep your distance, be courteous, kind and thankful for where we are and what we have.

Take care of each other and be well.

Mayor Suzan Hewat