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Prince George bylaw officers receive over 30 calls concerning COVID-19 in first two weeks of enforcement

City implemented changes on March 31 following provincial orders
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The City of Prince George has announced they will now be enforcing provincial orders from Dr. Bonnie Henry. (via City of Prince George)

The City of Prince George says its bylaw officers have received roughly 35 calls since implementing orders from B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at the end of March. 

Spokesperson Michael Kellett is reminding residents that the city's role is to provide education to the community.  

"The city’s role is to educate, monitor, and warn the public when they may be in potential violation of the Provincial Health Orders, and to relay information to Provincial Health Officers," he said in an email to PrinceGeorgeMatters. 

"The Province maintains the authority to enforce offenses through penalty under the Public Health Act."

Kellett adds Animal Control Officers and Parking Control Officers will continue to focus on public safety issues related to their specific areas, while also assisting with the education to the public about Provincial Health Orders that are related to COVID-19. 

On March 31, the city announced they would enforce the following orders during the provincial state of emergency: 

BYLAW SERVICES

The city says bylaw officers are now allowed to enforce provincially-issued orders by Dr. Henry.

This action will involve providing information to residents and monitoring facilities that have been closed.

A full list of public health orders, notices and guidance can be found from the Government of B.C. online

Anyone that believes an order is not being followed can call 311 or email 311@princegeorge.ca.

COUNCIL MEETINGS

In another change, city council will host meetings without any public in the gallery through one of the provincial orders. 

The city says this will also make it easier for officials to meet through electronic options available instead of in person. 

Prince George councillors will also be able to finish three readings and adoption of certain bylaws in one meeting.

Before, they were required to hold multiple council meetings. 

They will consider options for how to move forward at its next meeting scheduled for Monday (April 6). 

CIVIC FACILITIES AND LOCATIONS

The city says it's working with the Prince George Farmers Market Association to still operate its food vendors without having to open the city-owned building on Third Avenue. 

Dr. Henry deemed Farmers' Markets as an essential food service providers. 

The city is working with the association and the Wilson Square Community Market to establish parameters for when its outdoor markets are open, usually in May, but can change with any future orders from Dr. Henry.