The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is asking the province to consider regional. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is asking the province to consider regional. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail chamber requests PHO restraint for rural communities

Kootenay-Boundary businesses and residents suffer inordinately when considering COVID numbers

The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is calling on the province to stop painting every region in B.C. with the same pandemic brush.

The Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) recent restrictions took the “Merry” out of Christmas for many B.C. residents, and the Kootenay-Boundary region was hit unfairly hard by the PHO orders.

The Trail chamber is sending a letter of concern to Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, that asks the province to consider regional numbers when instituting future orders.

“Chambers of commerce and Boards of Trade across B.C. have been supportive of the direction taken by the province and have encouraged all citizens and businesses to follow the orders being issued by the Provincial Health Officer,” said chamber director Erika Krest.

“Many regional chambers also realize it is going to be many more months before COVID-19 is behind us and that means more decisions are likely to come from government before the vaccine has been fully distributed across the province. In light of that, many chambers are asking the province to consider regional variations when establishing or adjusting future health orders.”

There had been 15 positive COVID cases in Greater Trail, 12 in Castlegar, and three in Grand Forks in Kootenay-Boundary since January, 2020, with no new cases reported from Dec. 6-12.

In all of Interior Health, as of Dec. 18 there have been 3,124 cases, and 10,969 in Vancouver Coastal Health and almost 29,000 in Fraser Valley Health.

Preventing the spread and flattening the curve is the provincial mandate, and the chamber calls upon Kootenay-Boundary residents to continue protocols that have kept cases among the lowest in the province.

There have been 104 cases of the virus in Kootenay-Boundary since January, while larger centres like Surrey, Abbotsford, Burnaby and Delta have 10-times that number, with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents.

Krest says that chambers applauded the work of the Provincial Health Officer for moving forward with a regional approach as the cases began to spike earlier this year in the Lower Mainland and believe that strategy should continue to guide decision making in the new year whether that is on Jan. 8 or further into the year, responding with tighter restrictions only when warranted on a regional basis.

Geographically, the province of B.C. encompasses a massive area that would stretch from Seattle into southern California, with characteristics unique to each region.

In week 50, recent surges in the Central Okanagan region had 349 new cases from Dec. 6 to Dec. 12. Parsing the Interior Health, which covers a vast region, into its smaller components is something that the province should consider.

“As other provinces have shown, a one size fits all approach doesn’t make sense,” said Krest, adding that the province is already divided up into distinct health authority regions.

“A regional approach to health orders would likely be easy to manage given each health authority is collecting data and closely monitoring the situations in the communities they serve.”

Given the numbers, the Trail and District chamber is advocating for its business community, which has suffered inordinately, and also for the physical and mental health of all residents. Greater Trail businesses were shut down in March and remained so, with virtually no cases at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital throughout the summer.

“We are not asking for the current temporary restrictions to be removed,” added Krest. “We are simply asking that when our collective efforts to flatten the curve starts to come to fruition, when the reopening discussions take place, that regional variances in that decision making be considered.”

Related read: Trail and District Chamber hands out 2019 business awards

Related read: Community Futures, Trail chamber access Trust’s buy-local campaign



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail property taxes will go up 3.99 per cent in 2021

Trail council kept the 2020 property tax rate at 0 % over the previous year

Edna Whiteley in 2016. “Her whole life has been happy and about helping others,” says her nephew Bob Steed. Photo: Submitted
Nelson’s ‘little firecracker’ Edna Whiteley turns 100

Whiteley is known as a welcoming ambassador for new arrivals in the city

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read