Langley Township has become the latest Lower Mainland municipality to shut down public facilities to help fight COVID-19.
A statement was released by mayor Jack Froese Monday afternoon:
“As of 8 p.m., Monday March 16th, all Township recreation centres, arenas, pools, and the Langley Centennial Museum are closed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Spring break day camps and childcare services will continue at our facilities until further notice. We continue to take direction from health authorities on further closures and cancellations.”
Among the affected facilities are the Langley Events Centre, Aldergrove community centre and Walnut Grove pool.
“We are dealing with an unprecedented situation that is impacting us all, and the health and safety of our residents and staff is of the utmost importance,” Froese commented.
“How we respond in the days and weeks ahead, both individually and as a community, will be important.”
Froese said workers at the different facilities would remain on the job, to assist residents by phone and other methods.
“We’re going to keep staffed up,” Froese told the Langley Advance Times.
He said the work load for the employees was likely to shift from current duties to other, possibly virus-related, tasks.
Froese added that when Township council next meets, on March 23rd, “social distancing” will be enforced.
Plans are to have a greater separation between members of council, and to restrict the size of the audience to below the suggested limit of 50 people.
The public is encouraged to stay home and livestream Council proceedings at tol.ca, rather than attend meetings in person.
Anyone wanting to appear as a delegation or make a presentation to Council is asked to provide their information via email, to assist in managing upcoming Council meetings, as content will be limited to essential priority items.
“By continuing to work together and supporting each other, we will strive to keep our community healthy and overcome this,” Mayor Froese said.
People who want to make presentations to council will be invited to do so via email.
“We’re doing what we can [to slow the spread of the virus],” Froese said, describing the situation as “unprecedented.”
The Township also announced a planned open house on a transportation study of the 216 Street Corridor from Telegraph Trail to 96 Avenue in Walnut Grove would be cancelled because of COVID-19.
Langley City announced similar measures earlier in the day.
Timms Community Centre and Douglas Recreation Centre will be closed effective tomorrow at 4:30 pm (Tuesday, March 17) until further notice to prevent the spread of the virus and minimize the exposure of COVID-19.
All programs will be suspended except for Spring Break camps and childcare programs until further directives from health authorities, the City notice explained.
Mayor Val van den Broek said plans are to retain staff from the centres, with some possibly being reassigned.
There are also plans to rearrange council seating to increase the distance between councillors, and there will be limits to the size of audiences at Langley City council meetings.
Langley City council meeting can be viewed at https://langleycity.ca/council-admin/city-council/council-meetings-minutes.
The City will provide a refund to participants for any cancellation of programs or rentals, put memberships on hold until the end of March 2020, and will cancel any City scheduled events with over 50 people until the end of April 2020.”
The province says it is still considering whether schools in B.C. will remain open once spring break ends in two weeks.
But a “formal announcement” on schools is expected to take place tomorrow.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have both closed schools and daycares.