Kamloops MLAs say they have been hearing plenty from residents concerned about health and business as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, but both have been impressed with the community response.
Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar are each working from home, their offices having closed earlier this week.
“I’ve been spending the vast majority of my time on the phone with constituents,” Stone told KTW. “Our call volume and email volume has increased considerably. We’re doing our best to get back to people to assure them we’re going to get through this.”
Stone said concerns appear to vary among constituents — from child care to small business to health.
Milobar said he is glad to see British Columbians taking the coronavirus threat seriously.
“I think it was interesting to see how it got a slow start across B.C.,” he said. “But I think people have realized the seriousness.”
According to Milobar, government responses at all levels have landed with varied success.
“There’s going to be hits and misses for any government through this,” he said.
“We’re seeing that across North America. But this time isn’t the time to do the blame game. We have to make sure people are getting the resources they need. I think everyone agrees we need help. We need aid packages. But it’s not the time or place to be quibbling.”
Stone said he has been impressed with the community reaction to the crisis in Kamloops.
“I think the community response in so many ways has been as expected,” he said. “I’ve always said this is a community that punches above its weight. When the chips are on the table, everyone looks out for each other.”
Stone mentioned a number of examples, specifically pointing to a Facebook group called Caremongering Kamloops, where people in the community have been sharing tips and information and asking questions.
“Sometimes when you’re going through a crisis is when you see the true character of a community,” he said. “That warms my heart.”