COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

We are taking a careful and phased approach to opening City facilities and restarting City services.  Our priority continues to be everyone’s health and safety.  While access to many facilities is closed or has reduced service, there’s a lot you can still do online, by phone, or by appointment.  Changes to our operations are based on recommendations of Federal and Provincial Government agencies.  The City is encouraging all residents and businesses to follow the direction of public health officials, including limiting public gatherings, practicing physical distancing and hand washing/sanitizing.

Please note that Interior Health(External link) should remain your primary source of information in the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak. Please visit their website (External link) for the latest information.

Link to BC’s restart plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support

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COVID-19 Need to Know

  • Do not travel outside Canada
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick or have recently travelled outside Canada
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Gatherings with 50+ people should be cancelled or postponed
  • Cleaning protocols are being increased across city facilities
  • The risk of COVID-19 transmission continues to remain low for residents of British Columbia.
  • Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, should contact their primary care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a COVID-19 telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.
  • More on COVID-19 from the Interior Health Authority

How to Protect Yourself and Others

We encourage you to follow the same procedures as what is recommended during cold and flu season:
• Stay home if you get sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
• Wash hands regularly with soap and water. This is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve/tissue and turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing.
• Use tissues to contain secretions and dispose of them promptly in a waste container.
• Keep common surface areas like doorknobs, light switches and keyboards, clean and disinfected.

City Business

Effective Monday, August 4th, 2020 Merritt City Hall, at 2185 Voght Street, is open for limited hours (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM daily) and services.

This response is to ensure that the City will be able to continue to provide service to residents while taking every measure possible to ensure the safety of staff. During this time, residents are encouraged to contact municipal staff by email or telephone. For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) within the City of Merritt contact communications@merritt.ca or call 250-378-4224.

The City of Merritt is currently participating in BC-wide conference calls hosted by the Interior Health Authority. In our region, Interior Health has set up an Emergency Operations Center in Kamloops, which has been operational for the last 9 weeks. During this time, the City is working closely with Emergency Management BC and our local emergency services are sourcing protective equipment where required.

Fire Rescue & Policing

24 Hour Fire and Policing Service Notice

Effective immediately only essential services within the City of Merritt will be provided. Essential services include 24-hour fire and policing, wastewater and garbage collection, and communications.
The Merritt RCMP is encouraging community members to call the Merritt RCMP detachment rather than in person visits unless absolutely necessary.
24 hour policing service will continue to be provided moving forward following COVID-19.
For more info contact the Merritt RCMP office at 250-378-4262.
Small Confined Fire Permits 
1. The City will continue to accept small confined fire permit applications, to allow individuals to safely enjoy campfires during this time.
2. All applications should be scanned and sent via e-mail to smilne@merritt.ca.  Applications must include the following:
  • Application Form
  • A map or sketch of property showing the location of the fire pit
  • Pictures of the fire pit area that sufficiently show that all minimum distance requirements have been met (the fire inspector will not be physically inspecting any properties at this time).
  • Proof of payment
3. Payment will only be accepted online at https://p.paytm.ca/pages/merritt.  The following information needs to be entered:
  • “Search for Biller” field – 3. Accounts Receivable
  • “Account Code” – 112400255
  • “Amount to Pay” – $25.00
  • Full name, phone number and e-mail address are also required.

For more information please view the Fire Safety Regulations Bylaw No. 2272 and the Small Confined Fire Brochure.

Recreation & Leisure

The City of Merritt would like to invite Nicola Valley residents to view these recreation resources below to help maintain active lifestyles while staying home and practising physical distancing. This resource webpage will be updated often as new information becomes available.

Transportation

Rider Announcement from BC Transit – May 5, 2020
On June 1, 2020, BC Transit is returning to fare collection in all BC Transit communities. To do this safely, BC Transit is working with the Provincial Health Officer’s direction and installing vinyl panels on buses without full driver doors.

Other safety measures will also remain in place, including:
  • Enhanced cleaning on buses and at BC Transit facilities
  • Physical distancing onboard and limiting passenger capacity
  • The red line between driver and passenger zones
  • Vinyl panels on light duty buses

Mandatory Face Covering Policy is in effect as of August 24, 2020. BC Transit Coronavirus COVID-19 info is available at www.bctransit.com/covid19.

Tourism & Tourbuses

The City of Merritt is working with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Destination British Columbia to ensure visitors “#ExploreBC.. later” as per provincial guidelines.

On City of Merritt and Tourism Merritt social media channels, we are inviting visitors to #ExploreMerritt online and plan for their future trip once things return to normal.

Information on Ebus regarding their response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found at www.myebus.ca/news/our-response-coronavirus.

Support for Individuals & Families

In response to concerns about COVID-19, Service Canada has made some changes to Canada’s sick-leave benefits under Employment Insurance.
Eligible Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.
COVID-19 benefits and services.  Benefits to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the g lobal COVID-19 outbreak.  http://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html
and
Additional supportive response actions include:
The establishment of a new dedicated toll-free phone number (1-833-381-2725) to support enquiries related to waiving the EI Sickness benefits.
Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine

Resources

Public Resources

Business Resources

Contact

Please contact your health care provider, local public health office or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 if you have concerns about your personal health situation.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a COVID-19 telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.
For more information on COVID-19 within the City of Merritt, please contact info@merritt.ca.