As many in Mission continue to practise social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the district is still conducting day-to-day business as best it can.
Mayor Pam Alexis said, while things are now slowing down, in the past week she and staff have been inundated with calls.
“It was non-stop,” she said.
And the reason for the calls stretched from one extreme to the other.
“In the beginning it was a much wider range. It was anything from, ‘Why are you complying with Fraser Health or with the Health Authority because this is a hoax?’ kind of idea to, ‘Why are you allowing people to walk in front of my house?’ So the range was phenomenal,” Alexis said.
She said “people are worried, anxious and stressed so I answer as best I can.”
Alexis said the district needs to relay a sense of calm and strength and work with other levels of government.
“It really is a time where we have to let government lead the ship. In this case, we take our instructions from the province with how and what we do. So we are just a cog- in-the-chain kind of thing. We can’t invent new things to do. We must take these orders seriously.”
Some members of the public have asked her why they can’t stop people from going outside but Alexis said the district can’t impose those restrictions.
“Those kinds of things have to come from the province. The last thing the province needs are different municipalities behaving in different ways and enforcing different things.”
Mike Younie, chief administrative officer for the district, said despite the COVID-19 precautions, businesses is continuing.
“We closed the buildings to the public, but we are still accepting building permit applications and things like that. We have ways to do that. We are communicating via email or by phone. We are not going off site to have any in-person meetings,” Younie said.
He said he doesn’t think there has been a drop in service at this point; rather, it’s a different way of delivering a service.
“We are still doing building permit inspections, as much as we can. There are some types, like secondary suites, where we would go into a person’s home; those we are not doing.”
Younie said they are also looking at expanding the number of employees who can work at home during the pandemic.
With these changes in place, he said the district is keeping up with the workload.
“The outside world that deals with us is also slowing down and changing the way they do things. The phones aren’t ringing. We’re not getting tons of emails on development questions.”
Alexis agreed, saying it’s almost like the pause button has been hit.
“It feels like we are in a limbo state right now,” she said.
The district website, mission.ca, is constantly being updated with new information on how the COVID-19 situation is impacting the community. Alexis is encouraging people to visit often.
The mayor has also started uploading a series of videos where she talks to the public about different local issues.
The new Mission COVID-19 assessment website is now up and running.
The website (MissionCovidResponse.com) offers information about coronavirus/COVID-19 and what to do if you develop symptoms.
Go to the site to check your symptoms and help the Mission Health Community determine if you need to be assessed by phone or at the Mission COVID-19 assessment site (by appointment only).
“It started when the Mission Division of Family Practice wanted to create an assessment site similar to what other cities have so people in Mission didn’t have to drive to Abbotsford,” Younie said.
The division spearheaded the idea and got Fraser Health onside.
Mission residents who feel they may have COVID-19 are encouraged to visit the website to be assessed.