Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

‘Everyone needs to do better’: Kelowna Mayor on city’s rising COVID-19 numbers

Mayor Colin Basran said it’s up to residents and visitors to listen to Dr. Henry and follow the rules

Don’t come to Kelowna and act like the city is a COVID free bubble, where you can behave however you want.

That is the messaging from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the city that saw case numbers top more than 70 on Tuesday, July 22.

Most of the cases have been linked to those in their 20s and 30s who attended private parties.

READ MORE: Kelowna COVID-19 cluster identified after private parties

Basran said as the cases continue to climb following the initial cluster outbreak at the start of July, residents have been expressing outrage and concern.

He said some residents believe that Kelowna should not be allowing visitors to the community or that Bernard should not have been shut down to traffic and opened to patio expansions.

“As far visitors go that isn’t a decision to be made by the City of Kelowna, that is a decision to be made by Dr. Bonnie Henry. As of right now, she is still OK with visitors from across the province, visiting here,” he explained. “She also said there are no plans to restrict travel between provinces.”

Now, it’s up to residents and visitors to listen to Dr. Henry’s advice when it comes to social distancing and slowing the spread of COVID-19, said Basran.

He called it a waiting game to see if people will in fact listen and act respectively, so the curve can be flattened.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Tourism Kelowna encourages community to be safe and responsible

If residents and visitors can’t follow the directions of Dr. Henry, there could be changes to Phase Three or the possibility of moving back to Phase Two. Although Basran said, that Dr. Henry did not share what a modified Phase Three would look like.

“I know a lot of people really don’t want that (to go back to Phase Two). So, what happens next depends on residents and visitors and how they behave,” said Basran. “Everyone needs to do better.”

And, while some Kelowna locals might be pointing the finger at visitors for the cause of the spread of the virus, Basran said some residents are not adhering to Dr. Henry’s guidelines.

“My message to residents is we play just as big of a part here in flatting the curve. Continue to be vigilant and continue to do the things we need to get back to where we were. If we do that we can continue to balance the needs of dealing with this health care crisis, but also allow those who are dependant on tourism to make a living.”

The mayor met with Dr. Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Interior Health on July 17 to discuss the recent coronavirus exposures in Kelowna.

“The biggest thing (we discussed) was how to get the message out to the 20 to 29 year old demographic, to behave better if they are going to visit here,” he said. “Likely they are not using traditional media as sources of information, so how do we reach them.”

Basran said the message needs to be clear that it is OK to visit Kelowna, but everyone has to be responsible and act as if they were in their home town.

“They need to act as if the person or group next to them has it, so act accordingly. This is not the time to visit Kelowna and meet new people, stick with the people you know and don’t interact with the people you don’t.”

READ MORE: Province mobilizes influencers to get COVID-19 messaging out to young people in Kelowna

During a press conference on Tuesday, July 21, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix stated that the province is turning to social media influencers to share the message about COVID-19 best practices, in the hopes of targeting the 20 to 30 year old demographic.

“I’m so proud, and you’ll see it on Instagram, the work of different people from all walks of life, from people involved in fitness to food to tourism to community activities who are posting on Instagram right now to get that message out,” Dix said

As of Wednesday, July 22, more than 1,000 British Columbians are self-isolating due to being linked to Kelowna community exposures.

B.C. recorded 34 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and no additional deaths.

READ MORE: WorkSafeBC reports more than 300 violations of COVID-19 safety rules

p>

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

The Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop donated items to the Hospice Society’s care cart. (Submitted/Hospice Society)
Hospice Society thanks contributors to Hospice on Wheels cart

When volunteers couldn’t visit the society introduced a care cart

Revelstoke City Council have denied an application for a development variance permit that would have allowed a cannabis store to be located at the strip mall that hosts Zalas. (Photo via Google Maps)
Revelstoke council stubs out cannabis store proposed at Zalas strip mall

The business was within 100 metres of an organization that hosts youths

The North Columbia Environemental Society has officially become the . (North Columbia Environmental Society)
NCES officially becoming new branch of Wildsight

Wildsight board directors voted in favour on Jan. 25

Castlegar Sculpturewalk 2020 – 10 Year Anniversary Sand Sculpture. (Submitted/CBT)
CBT arts and culture grant program now accepting applications

Apply through the Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Eagle River Secondary Grade 9 student Cody Hutchinson spearheaded the Digital Detox Challenge in which participants will give up their cellphones during school days for two weeks straight. (Contributed)
Shuswap student challenges himself, peers to go nine school days cellphone free

Cody Hutchinson hopes Digital Detox Challenge will give students opportunity to reconnect

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Ponderosa Primary Care Centre in Penticton is considered a model for care clinics going forward by the South Okanagan Division of Family Practice. (Monique Tamminga)
Primary Care Clinic funding could be a cure for South Okanagan Similkameen doctor shortage

Ponderosa Primary Care Centre in Penticton is a model for future care clinics and doctor recruitment

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vernon’s Barb and Denis Murdoch, pictured at Lake Louise in 1987, will be inducted into the builder category of the B.C. Volleyball Hall of Fame, Class of 2021, on Feb. 15. (Murdoch family photo)
North Okanagan volleyball couple earn Hall of Fame call

Denis and Barb Murdoch will be inducted into B.C. Volleyball Hall of Fame in builder category

Eagle River Secondary Grade 9 student Cody Hutchinson spearheaded the Digital Detox Challenge in which participants will give up their cell phones during school days for two weeks straight. (Contributed)
Sicamous student challenges himself, peers to go nine school days cell phone free

Cody Hutchinson hopes Digital Detox Challenge will give students opportunity to reconnect

Most Read