As Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stepped up her recommendation this week for British Columbians to wear masks in public spaces, the North Shore Business Improvement Association will be recommending its members follow suit.
“We are strong supporters of mask use,” NSBIA executive director Jeremy Heighton said.
“Mask use is not just about the individual, it’s about individuals around the individual. It’s about community. It’s about health and safety.”
COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in British Columbia, which is in the midst of a second wave during a global pandemic.
On Monday (Oct. 26), Henry said it is now the “expectation” residents will wear masks in public spaces. In the Lower Mainland, the location of most COVID-19 cases in British Columbia, masks are commonplace. In Kamloops, some individual businesses and organizations have mandated mask use, but they are not required across the board and many people choose not to wear a face covering.
Heighton said the NSBIA is reaching out to its member businesses in the coming weeks and recommending mask use. He noted that in some situations, such as dining, it may be challenging.
“It’s not mandated,” Heighton said. “But we do suggest to our members and our shoppers that it is a positive community benefit.”
Designing the future of the North Shore
Meanwhile, the NSBIA is anticipating release of design charrettes by the city for revisions of the North Shore Neighbourhood Plan, which will guide development in the area over the next decade.
The city previously released design charrettes (a period of planning activity) that included Kamloops Centre for the Arts during the downtown planning process. The North Shore charrettes are expected to be released next month.
Pandemic claims NSBIA Christmas celebration
A Christmas event typically hosted by the NSBIA that involves an annual Christmas tree lighting, hot chocolate and a fire will not occur this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heighton said the organization will be stressing to residents to shop local this winter, including for Christmas. Heighton pointed out that larger chain stores in town employ many local workers.
“It’s really important to move away from the online ordering platform and stick with our local ordering,” he said, noting supply chains issues in the United States are leading to questions about whether items ordered and purchased online will arrive in time for Christmas.