City facilities, airport to remain open

The City of Prince George's public facilities will remain open for the immediate future, a spokesperson for the city said Friday afternoon.

However, the city will be monitoring all events and programs taking place at civic facilities to ensure they don't exceed the 250-person maximum put in place by provincial health authorities on Thursday to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"Currently there is no intention to close civic facilities, such as the swimming pools and arenas. However, this decision is fluid and may change based upon the level of risk," city spokesperson Michael Kellett said by email. "The city is in regular contact with Northern Health and will advise residents and staff should a public facility such as the pool adjust operations..."

The city has created a webpage, www.princegeorge.ca/covid19, which will be updated regularly with the latest information on the impact of the breakout on city operations.

On Thursday, Mayor Lyn Hall said city was taking a look at all its operations, following the decision by the World Curling Federation to cancel the 2020 Women's World Curling Championship tournament, which was scheduled to start on Saturday at CN Centre. Since Thursday, hard-rocker Alice Cooper and Cirque du Soleil have cancelled or postponed scheduled appearances at CN Centre.

"After this decision was made, our team has been looking at every one of our facilities," Hall said. "We have sanitation processes in place. From a facilities point of view, we're working on a decision at this time."

The Prince George Airport will also remain open but is taking additional precautions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, according to the airport authority president.

The airport is following the guidelines provided by public health officials including the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada and Northern Health, Gordon Duke said in a press release.

“The safety of our employees, tenants and travelling public is of utmost importance and we are doing everything we can to stay on top of this,” Duke said. “The janitorial team has implemented their high touch point cleaning program, and the (airport) has posted additional signage and installed numerous hand sanitizing stations in the public and employee areas.” 

The airport authority has reviewed its pandemic plans and aircraft isolation procedures in preparation for a possible outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, in northern B.C. The airport is also working with suppliers and airlines to review possible scenarios and ensure the airport will have sufficient supplies on hand to continue operating.

Duke encouraged people looking to deal with cancelled flights or changed plans to contact the original booking agent.

 “We are starting to see a backlog of people coming to (the airport) to make changes to their flights which is impacting day to day operations” he said. 

 

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