It’s incredible to see the changes that have occurred for all of us within the last six weeks, and by all expert predictions, it appears that this pandemic will be impacting our daily lives for some time to come. In response to COVID-19, Federal, Provincial and local governments, businesses, non-profit groups, and agencies have announced numerous support programs. In this article I’ll try to provide a guide to the programs and information sources that have been introduced to help individuals and businesses.
For any disease condition, but especially during a pandemic, it is critical to ensure that we are all accessing bona fide disease information. The best source is the BC Centre for Disease Control and with daily updates on their website. Updates on the pandemic can also be found Government of Canada website.
If you are wondering whether and how to access testing, you can find the COVID-19 support app and self-assessment tool online at https://covid19.thrive.health/. To obtain non-medical information, such as travel restrictions, the province has a hotline which can be accessed between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. in 110 languages at 604-630-0300.
The federal government has introduced a broad range of programs to help individuals, businesses and business sectors, also available on the Government of Canada, department of finance website. Provincial support programs are described on the B.C. government website COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information.
Locally, Shuswap Economic Development, Shuswap Tourism, Salmon Arm Economic Development, Community Futures Shuswap and the Tsuts’weye Women’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Network have collaborated to develop Phase 1 of the COVID-19 Emergency Economic Response Plan for the Shuswap Region, and this can be accessed online at www.saeds.ca or by calling 250-833-0608. The South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce provides COVID-19 information for businesses and individuals and can be accessed at www.southshuswapchamber.com. And, if you’re looking for information on local stores and services, go to www.shopshuswap.ca, and access the various directories by region or municipality by using the location tabs at the bottom of the page.
C0lumbia Shuswap Regional District staff are continuing to provide services, and are working from home. If you need to contact someone, please go to the CSRD website and click on the “contact us” button at the bottom of the home page; scrolling down will reveal the staff directory providing phone numbers and emails for all staff. Emails are greatly preferred as a means to communicate with CSRD staff.
For people needing grocery delivery services in Blind Bay from Village Grocer, send your orders via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For Sorrento, you can place your orders at Lighthouse Market for delivery by the Lions Club via email@example.com.
You can continue to donate food to the Sorrento Food Bank at both the Village Grocer and Lighthouse Market, or you can donate cash online by going to http://www.sorrentofoodbank.ca/.
I hope this information is useful to you and yours, and I wish you good health and unusually good patience to help get through this pandemic.
-Paul Demenok is the Area C director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District