COVID-19 is slowly causing cities around Canada to declare states of emergency, and now one of B.C.’s largest cities might do the same. A state of emergency in Vancouver has been suggested by the mayor. This announcement was made on Wednesday, March 18. Mayor Kennedy Stewart hopes that a decision will be made by Thursday. 

Via Twitter, Stewart announced on Wednesday, March 18 that it was time for Vancouver to declare a state of emergency due to COVID-19

While speaking with media, Steward stated that he was concerned at the current state of affairs, and that is why he is recommending a state of emergency. 

At this time, this is just a recommendation. Mayor Steward plans on taking this suggestion to council for discussion. 

On Thursday, March 19, city council will vote on the suggestion. Steward is expecting the state of emergency to be approved on the same day. 

Following the lead of cities like Calgary and Banff, Mayor Steward believes that this is an important decision after he received word from local authorities that several restaurants remained open on St. Patricks Day, despite the public health emergency that was declared the same afternoon.

By decreeing a state of emergency for the city, the city could have more authority over certain situations, including the forceful closure of restaurants. 

Steward also told CTV News that the city may also be able to address the issue of panic-buying if the declaration moves forward. 

Officials, including Justin Trudeau, have asked the public to stay indoors and limit their time spent in public places. 

Restaurants in the city have also closed to the public, but remain open for takeout and delivery services

In addition to these precautionary measures, the city has added more handwashing stations to Vancouver’s downtown core to help the city's homeless population. 

CTV News has also been told by a spokesperson that officials are looking into housing options for anyone who may need to self-isolate but does not have the means to do so.  

The closures are not ending any time soon and even several parks around Vancouver have been closed as of March 17. 

With more and more people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 and the closures, BC Hydro has set up a deferral program that will allow all eligible customers the option to pay their bills at a later date. 

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