Solemn pandemic anniversary, caution urged

March 11, 2021

The City of Kelowna has half-masted flags at its facilities to remember residents who succumbed to the coronavirus in the year since a provincial health emergency was declared.

More than 100 people in the B.C. Interior have died after contracting COVID-19 in the past year – despite unprecedented efforts to educate people about the virulence of the virus and health orders to limit exposure to one another.

“First and foremost, I want to express sincere and heartfelt condolences to those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19,” Mayor Colin Basran said in a brief video posted to the City’s social media channels. “We hope this gesture signals in a quiet but significant way how we support each other in a crisis.”

Mayor Basran noted the challenges and triumphs Kelowna citizens worked through in the past year.

“For all the sadness that the loss of life brings, there is an equal measure of gratitude to the healthcare professionals who brought thousands of individuals infected with COVID-19 back to health.”

“So many frontline workers came to work, adapting to new procedures and tirelessly providing the rest of us with the necessities – and occasional treats – that have helped us get through this challenging year. And for that, we are all very grateful.”

The mayor also thanked the business community for joining with the City in ways to keep the local economy moving, such as expanding the outdoor patio program, creating curbside pick-up zones outside businesses, and refining online options that allow private businesses to get what they need from the City to continue their operations.

Finally, the mayor echoed the messages from public health officials to remain vigilant, even as the rollout of vaccines begins in B.C.

“Now is not the time to let down our guard and take a step backward. We need to continue to pay close attention to the recommendations of Dr. Henry and follow any new orders that might be necessary to control the virus.”