The city’s council voted approved rather a motion that will see residents fined up to $ 1,000 for failing to comply with social distancing rules. Businesses face a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars. That’S after reports over the weekend of large groups of people coming together for outdoor picnics or to play soccer Kenedy Stewart is the mayor of Vancouver.
He joins us now hi Mary Stewart, thanks for making time for us my pleasure. So can you update us, I guess on on we outlined there what happened in council today, but it sounds like. Obviously it was. You know a straightforward decision for you and for council. Why is that yeah? Well, just starting last week we started by closing birds and restaurants. On st. Patrick’s Day, we were worried about lot lots of people coming downtown, so we had a health order from the Minister of Health to do that, and then we moved on to have a state of emergency where we started to shut down bars and restaurants and Other and other establishments, however, over the weekends you said there are people out at beaches, playing volleyball and soccer, and you know all kinds of things they shouldn’t be doing, and so I asked council called another virtual meeting, a special council meeting where we’ve now approved these Fines which up to $ 50,000, as you said for for businesses that are not complying and up to a thousand for individuals.
I have to say, though, there’s been 95 percent. Compliance Vancouverites have been awesome for the most part, staying home, doing the physical distance saying really pitching in to help us protect our most elderly and vulnerable people, as well as frontline workers. However, there’s a few bad eggs out there that we have to stop asking nicely and we’re going to have to go after them. If they don’t.
What do you think? What do you think mirror is the issue with that 5 % if 95 % are complying and to be fair. I’Ve heard that from a number of Mayors, as well as premiers on this evening’s program right, it’s not the majority of people where they live, but for those people who aren’t listening wat, why do you think it is what’s not getting through? You know it’s hard to say really. I mean where we had so many other things going out, we’re not interviewing people with and that’s you know they’re just either.
They don’t think you’re immune. Perhaps they you know it’s all age groups, it’s not just one particular group. So we just have to bring this in now and then we have, I think, 20 bylaw officers that are out there. We we’ve looked at think about a thousand businesses. Now we’ve issued about 15 orders of non-compliance, we’re asking again we serve notice to a business. For example, and then if they continue not to shut down and the fines kick in and we prosecute yeah, that’s actually what I want to follow up and ask you just for bit.
You know business owners who are reading tonight in Vancouver or for individuals who are, how will it work? Will you immediately be fined, or will you kind of get a warning first and then and then a ticket? How will it work yeah? So what happens? Is the bile officers are checking in and we also have people calling 3 1 1 to? Let us know if they see a non-compliant business and then a bio laughs term we’ll go to that premise and basically tape a notice on their door.
That gives them the warning and then we haven’t had to levy any fines yet. But we just we just passed this literally hours ago, so if they continue to to stop, you know not complying, then then we’ll issue the fines and if they don’t pay the fines, then we prosecute them. Do you think that there needs to be some sort of federal federal invoking of either the Emergencies Act or something more specific, so that it’s not I mean and not to I’m, not taking away from anything that the prime minister said he’s been unequivocal as well today.
So has the premier of your province, I mean political leaders are on the same page when it comes to this, but does there need to be sort of more than a recommendation coming from the federal government when it comes to this, you know I’m not giving advice. The prime minister and cabinet, in fact their outreach, has been amazing. I have a call this evening with the Deputy Prime Minister. I think I talked at 3 ministers yesterday.
You know I’m just really overwhelmed with the support here and really what I get asked is what’s going on in your neighborhood or in your city. What do you need? How can we help and that’s that’s exactly what what’s been coming from the federal government, so I’m so grateful for that right now we’re focusing on a Downtown Eastside. We have 10,000 folks that are either homeless or living in you know single room, occupancy hotels that cannot self isolate, so that is now our top priority and we need help from the feds and the province to to really show compassion and protect these folks to our Most vulnerable citizens – hey – I know we spoke about this last week.
Have you received assurances, I guess from other levels of government that there will be help in the way of the issues that you identify? There wait. We are know knowing that the federal government is working on getting us supplies which is really important for our hospitals and for for frontline workers, which is great I mean, but I know that there’s supply chain issues on those on those items. So that’s taking a little bit of time for us, we’re really just focused on Wednesday, because that’s the day that checks their issues.
People get paper checks for the most part. They take them to some kind of establishment to cash them, and then they go by. They go buy whatever they need to survive, and we just got to make sure that we’re trying to help them maintain the proper physical distance and hygiene, and that is a huge challenge in a neighborhood, that’s already under a health emergency for an overdose crisis. So so this is our top priority and the provincial Health Minister assures me it’s his as well.
So thanks to Adrian Dix and and you know, governments are working as fast as we can, and you know, we’ve never had really add anything like this happen in Vancouver. So we’re we’re just moving as fast as we can, but taking action. That’S the key when we spoke also last week mayor, we also discussed the sort of economic impact on Vancouver beyond what you were just describing and I’m wondering now.
We just got a number in nearly a million Canadians last week tried to access EEI, that’s compared to 27,000 that same week the year before, I’m wondering what that number says to you, and also what your sense is now almost a week later of the potential economic Impact in your city, well, there’s two things: I’m looking at first is the immediate needs of the city as an organization, so we know we’re losing millions of dollars a week because we’ve closed community centers and other revenue generating you know, parking fines.
All those kind of things that mostly been shut down so we’re. We have a big deficit that we have. We really appreciate some direct unconditional grants from either the federal or provincial government to help us with these shortfalls, which are going to really hit us hard as we move into the recovery so but the overall economy as well. You know where we now know that it’s okay to continue with construction, which is great, so we’re going to try to keep passing rezoning to get rental buildings built.
But again it’s tough when all your staff are at home working by computer, so we’ve got it. We’Ve got a lot. We’Ve made it a priority to identify a lot of shovel-ready projects that we can get going on right away as soon as you know, as soon as the coast is clear to get everybody back working, but in the meantime it is going to be tough for everybody. Businesses and employees, as well as layoffs as layoffs, start to ramp up okay I’ll leave it there.
I really appreciate you making some time. I know it’s really busy thanks mayor Stuart, no problem, thanks for covering this hi, i’m mocchi Capello’s host of power in politics see more of our show by subscribing to the CBC news, blog or click the link for another article.
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