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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates - April 6 - 11:45 AM

Last updated: April 6, 2020 at 11:45 AM.

CATEGORIES 
· The Mayor's Update
· COVID-19 Need to know 

· City Business
· Fire Rescue & Policing
· City Facilities 

· City Playground Parks 
· Transportation 
· Tourism & Tourbuses 
· Photo Contest
· Employment Insurance

· Resources 
· Contact Information

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Effective Wednesday March 18th, 2020 Merritt City Hall, at 2185 Voght Street, will be closed to the public until further notice.
 

City of Merritt Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Press Release - March 26, 2020

March 28, 2020 Video Update from Mayor Linda Brown

March 23, 2020 Video Update from Mayor Linda Brown

March 19, 2020 Video Update from Mayor Linda Brown

March 16, 2020 Video Update from Mayor Linda Brown

☑️ 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

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.
Please be aware that effective Wednesday March 18th, 2020 Merritt City Hall, at 2185 Voght Street, will be closed to the public until further notice. This closure will also include the City of Merritt Community Policing Office at 2026 Granite Avenue.

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 on 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.

Development Services Department 
The Development Services Department would like to remind residents that the department remains open to the public via phone and email. The Planning and Development Services Department is responsible for building and development in the City of Merritt. The Development Services Department is the primary resource when applying for a zoning amendment (i.e. rezoning), development permits, variance permits, subdivision applications and building applications.
 
Public Works Department
If you notice a problem that should be reported to the Public Works Department, residents are encouraged to fill out the Public Works Service Request form HERE.
 

All of the fields, including name and contact information must be included in the request so that we can get in touch if we need more information. Public Works Service Request forms are available on the bottom right on the Public Works page. 

Council Meetings and Committee Meetings
Until further notice, City of Merritt Regular Council Meetings will be held online. Individuals wishing to address Council, during the regular public input period, email communications@merritt.ca prior to the Council meeting. Community members are encouraged to listen to the live Council Meeting online. All City of Merritt Committee Meetings have been paused until further notice. Previous Council Meetings can be viewed at www.merritt.ca/council-meeting-video-archives.

During the March 24th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting, Council passed the motion that the Quarter 1 commercial utility billing cycle will be deferred and will be sent out in a combined Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 invoice in July, with an extended discount date of August 31, 2020.

BC PNP
The City of Merritt has temporarily paused business exploratory visits through the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneur Immigration Pilot. Notice will be provided when foreign business exploratory visits reopen.

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.
City Facilities Temporary Closure Notice 
At a special Council meeting held on Monday, March 16, Council for the City of Merritt resolved to close City of Merritt recreation facilities until further notice.  In total, the following facilities will be closed to minimize the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
  • Merritt Civic Centre
  • Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre
  • Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
  • City of Merritt Community Policing Office
  • Merritt Fire Hall
  • Merritt Public Works 
  • Merritt and District Seniors Centre
  • TNRD Merritt Library
  • Nicola Valley Courthouse Art Gallery
  • Merritt Visitor Centre at the Baillie House
  • Nicola Valley Museum and Archives

Full refunds will be provided to those registered for activities affected by the closure. During this time all City Parks will remain open.

Due to COVID-19, all City of Merritt park playgrounds are closed to the public until further notice. School District 58 Nicola Similkameen announced on March 25th, 2020 the closure of all school playgrounds during this time.
High touch surfaces including playground equipment, can increase the potential for virus transmission. For the safety of your fellow community members, please avoid use of this playground. During this time the City of Merritt invites residents to enjoy park trails and open spaces, ensuring to maintain physical distancing. At this time the Merritt Skatepark will remain open. 
 
Park playgrounds closed include: 
  • Central Park 
  • Rotary Park 
  • Fairley Park
Outdoor Merritt Facilities Closed include:
  • Multi-Use Sports Box
Effective March 21, 2020 BC Transit fare will not be collected until further notice. This change is implemented to reduce the interaction of staff and the public during COVID-19.  

BC Transit, the Province of BC, the City of Merritt and our local transit staff are continuing to work to ensure services are available for customers that need to get to work, including health care facilities, and going out for groceries or other needs.

Effective immediately customers across the province are asked to board using the rear door to enhance physical distancing for drivers and passengers. Accessible boarding is still available through the front door. Fares will not be collected at this time.

In addition, customers will not be required to pay fares in all BC Transit communities for 30 days for all systems including conventional, community, and handyDART.

More info available at www.bctransit.com/merritt/news?nid=1529708577504

BC Transit and the Merritt Regional Transit System will conduct extra cleaning precautions and BC Transit advises commuters to follow the guidelines set out by the Canadian Public Health Agency. 

On-Request bus service includes a curb-to-curb, shared transit service on-request to and from destinations in the Merritt area. All customers are eligible to use this service.

The Health Connections is a transit service providing accessible transportation options to access non-emergency medical appointments between communities. 

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.

Please note Ebus has ceased their scheduled operations as of Sunday, April 5 until further notice. Information on Ebus regarding their response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found at www.myebus.ca/news/our-response-coronavirus.

The City of Merritt would like to ensure our local residents are aware of changes to grocery store hours. 
 

Extra Foods

"This week we’re introducing dedicated shopping hours for our customers who need assistance or consideration, including seniors and people living with disabilities. 7am to 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. New Pharmacy hours 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Saturday. Starting Friday, March 20, 2020"
 

Save-on Foods

"Taking care of team members and customers continues to be the top priority at Save-On-Foods, so effective March 19, all stores will limit their hours of operation, opening their doors from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In addition, all stores will open from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for seniors, people with disabilities and those most vulnerable to shop in a less hectic environment and allow for social distancing, as recommended by health officials.
Save-On-Foods is also encouraging those customers who can shop in-store to do so and leave the online shopping services available to those who are not able to get to the store, including seniors, people with disabilities and those who are ill or self-isolating during these unprecedented times."
 

Walmart

Open regular hours
 
Restrictions

Events organized by the City of Merritt that host more than 50 people will be cancelled until further notice. Physical distancing is encouraged throughout the City of Merritt. 

To protect yourself and others, the City asks all citizens and visitors if they are sick or have flu-like symptoms, returning from a COVID-19 affected area or have underlying health conditions that may be impacted by respiratory illness, to stay away from scheduled events and large gatherings, as recommended by the Provincial Health Officer.

Cancelled/ Postponed Events

Currently postponed as of  10:00 a.m. Tuesday March 17. Information provided by Q101.

  • Native Hockey Tournament in Merritt scheduled for March 21-24th, Postponed
  • Kamloops Cowboy Festival, March 19-22, Postponed
  • Merritt Volleyball Association's Volleyfest for April 3-5 Cancelled
  • Scw'exmx Child and Family Services Society Spring Camp Cancelled
  • Church services for Crossroads Community Church for March 22,29 have been Cancelled.
  • Church services for Trinity United Church for March 22,29 have been Cancelled.
  • Coldwater Transition House Elders Lunch postponed from March 25 to April 30
  • Merritt Minor Hockey Association has postponed all games effective immediately.
  • Hockey Camp hosted by Nicola Valley & District Metis & Isparc on March 21, Cancelled
  • Rock & Roll Dance hosted by Nicola Valley Cruisers Car Club April 4th Cancelled
  • Home Routes Concerts scheduled for March 25 & April 22nd, Cancelled
  • Merritt Girl Guides in person meetings Cancelled until further notice.
  • Nicola Meadows will be closed to visitors until further notice.
  • All face-to-face teaching at NVIT is paused until further notice. For details visit  NVIT.ca
  • Journey into Tomorrow; Elders Easter Luncheon at the Civic Centre, March 25, Cancelled.
  • Merritt Seniors Bingo ( Tuesdays) Postponed for 2 Weeks.
  • Activities such as potlucks, luncheons and more at the Merritt Senior Centre have been cancelled until further notice.
  • Home Based Business Market scheduled for April 26th has been cancelled.
  • March CROP scrapbooking has been cancelled ifor March 20-22nd.
  • First Nations Student Hand Drumming & awakening of Canoe Celebration on March 31st Cancelled.
  • Friday night bingo for Nicola Valley Food Bank held at the Elks Hall cancelled until further notice.
  • Wednesday afternoon bingo at the Elks Hall  has been cancelled until further notice.
  • Merritt Centennials Spring Hockey Camp for April 3-5 has been cancelled.
  • The Nicola Valley Food Bank board of directors meeting for March cancelled
  • Merritt Thrift Shop is closed until further notice and will not accept donations at this time.
  • There are no events for the remainder of the semester at the NVIT gym
  • Royal Canadian Legion is closed until further notice.
  • MSS Drive Thru Breakfast Fundraiser for April 2nd has been postponed to a later date.
  • All programming with SCHSS has been suspended until further notice.
  • Merritt Mom's and Families is closed until further notice and will not be accepting clothes at this time.
  • NIcola Valley Thunder Lacrosse is suspended all BCLA sanctioned activities.Online registration will remain open.
  • Merritt Snowmobile Club Spring Fling cancelled

Photo Contest Announcement - Physical Distancing Activities

Covid-19 can cause anxiety and worry, but also an opportunity for our community to stand together.

During the weekly photo contest, the City of Merritt invites community members to submit inspiring photos around the weekly theme. Each week Merritt City Council will select the most uplifting photos and the winners will receive a shout out from Mayor Brown in the weekly video updates.

The theme for April 6th - April 12th is Physical Distancing Activities

Each week there will be different photo theme and multiple entries are encouraged. Community members are invited to send in photos to info@merritt.ca with the subject "Merritt Photo Contest" and share a few words about each of your photos.

Weekly deadline is Sunday at 11:59 PM.

The City of Merritt reserves rights to use submitted photos for marketing and promotional purposes.

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.

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.
Learn more about EI sickness benefits
 
More information soon.
 

Public Resources

Business Resources

   
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 coronavirus (COVID-19) within the City of Merritt, please contact communications@merritt.ca.
City of Merritt Updates on COVID-19: www.merritt.ca/news/covid-19