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Vancouver Declares State Of Emergency & Ramps Up COVID-19 Response

Mayor Stewart says the city must take “fast and extraordinary action.”

On Thursday, city councillors unanimously decided to declare a state of emergency in Vancouver. It’s among several Canadian cities to do so in recent days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Kennedy Stewart urged Vancouver to take swift action in order to keep residents safe.

The meeting started at 10 a.m. on March 19, just one day after Stewart first spoke up about it. “These are extraordinary times, and we all need to take fast and extraordinary action,” said Stewart. 

Vancouver’s announcement comes days after B.C. declared its own public health emergency.

The motion means the city is able to enforce many new rules, such as getting all “public-serving” businesses to close, with the exception of takeout and delivery.

Stewart said that several bars and restaurants remained open to patrons on St. Patrick’s day, despite being ordered to close.

He also says that this will help curb “unacceptable” panic buying. While shelves are being re-stocked regularly, rapid buying is causing short-term shortages in stores.

“If residents do not immediately change their behaviour and begin acting with their fellow Vancouverites in mind, I will work with local retailers and I will take action,” said Stewart.

More to come.

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