COVID-19: BC Ferries To Resume Long Harbour Ferry Service

Service to return to seasonal service levels to respond to growing demand - In collaboration with the Province, BC Ferries is increasing service on routes to the Southern Gulf Islands as of June 9, 2020 to match capacity with demand and better meet the needs of customers. This includes the re-opening of the Long Harbour terminal on Salt Spring Island. Demand on the Southern Gulf Island routes continues to grow. Effective June 9, 2020, the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Salt Spring Island (Long Harbour) service will resume and the Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands route will return to winter seasonal service levels. The routes will revert to the sailing times customers are used to seeing and are expected to alleviate the current demand pressures. Bookings for the Tsawwassen – Long Harbour route June 9 onwards are now open. Existing bookings made by customers on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route between June 9 and June 23 will be cancelled and the reservati…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Double Your Bubble

Dear Salt Springers, As you are all aware, many businesses and organizations are re-opening lately. Please be patient with new guidelines and potential wait times - people are doing their best, and we must be compassionate. Salt Spring medical professionals and hospital staff are working hard to plan for the best possible care of our community members now and in the coming months, taking into consideration the possibility of a second wave. We ask that everyone please head into summer cautiously, taking good care of ourselves and our loved ones, while continuing to social distance. Only "double your bubble" with a few trusted family or friends, and keep things local if possible. Please take a minute to read this overview of phased re-opening from Doctors of BC. Thank you!
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Island COMEBACK a Regenerative Initiative To “Keep Our Island Vibe Alive” Launches

Salt Spring Island has joined a pandemic economic response and recovery initiative called Island COMBACK. Created by a diverse cross-section of BC’s rural islanders, this grassroots gift certificate and donation program will assist our most vulnerable businesses and community groups during the pandemic and beyond. Rural islanders are interconnected, strong, and caring. Island COMEBACK’s goal is to help each island be better able to recover from the current crisis. There are 18 rural islands taking part including Salt Spring. Island COMEBACK is both a people-first, e-commerce site designed to promote and sell island created non-perishable and durable goods and services, and a donation platform allowing Salt Spring community groups and organizations to receive funds to assist with their immediate needs. It calls upon our local community, and the world, to support the recovery of our rural island culture, and economy by purchasing a gift certificate, making a donation or by doi…
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Salt Spring Island Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund Reaches Goal

A $30,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation Community Response Fund has boosted the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund to its $200,000 target. The grant is intended for rapid community response to support the needs of vulnerable populations. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We are extremely grateful for the generous community response. Reaching this Emergency Fund goal enables the Foundation to continue to partner with donors and local charities to deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for the services of our non-profit organizations will undoubtedly increase as islanders experience loss of income and other challenges, including mental health issues, over the summer and beyond.” The Foundation’s emergency fund has already distributed $113,687 to Salt Spring charities, including over $50,000 in food gift cards distributed via local charities to those in need in the community. This has been made pos…
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COVID-19: Navigating Re-opening Local Businesses

As businesses are navigating the guidelines set out by the government, Public Health Officer, and WorkSafeBC, some are also experiencing extreme criticism from local residents about re-opening after nearly two and half months of being closed. Although re-opening our economy is daunting to many, every business is working hard to follow the guidelines and directives. Many of the requirements come at a high financial and human resource cost, leave their employees feeling vulnerable and affect overall business viability. We are so lucky to live in BC during this time, with the strong leadership and communication skills of Dr. Bonnie Henry and compliance by BC Residents our Province has been exemplary in flattening the curve. We must continue trusting her leadership and support businesses as they adjust to comply with the new business environment. Business owners are aware that it is not “Business as usual” and need locals to be understanding and supportive through this try…
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BC MyHealth Provides Virtual Access to Health Records, Including COVID-19 Test Results

Enrollment in Island Health’s Patient Portal — MyHealth — has gone virtual, giving patients across Island Health easier access to their own digital health records, including COVID-19 screening results. In support of efforts to reduce unnecessary visits to our facilities, people can now sign up for MyHealth remotely. “With the newly available virtual enrollment feature, we are pleased the recently-launched MyHealth patient portal can play an even larger role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health board chair. “This is an empowering step for patients while adhering to the Provincial Health Officer’s direction on physical distancing and limiting visitors to our hospitals. With access to their own health records anytime from anywhere they can get all kinds of test results quickly, review results in real-time during virtual care visits, and make informed decisions about their care plan.” Information about the enrollment process is available…
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Reimagining Salt Spring Island: Forward for the Better - not “Back to Normal”

This is an offering to our Salt Spring Island community in these troubled times where crisis and opportunity are the two faces of the situation we face as a community, as society, as a planet.  In order to get through this to some kind of better normal, we all need to raise big questions.  We need to talk about what’s hard to talk about.  That’s what we are trying to do here.  In doing so, we might upset some of you.  We can’t get this all right but we want to start the conversation. This is coming from a place of care and concern about the world we live in.  And of hope for the one we could co-create. What if we don’t go “back to normal” on Salt Spring Island. Normal was nurses and teachers without stable housing.  Normal was tons of visitors travelling by CO2 emitting planes, ferries and cars to go for a hike and have a nice dinner.  Normal was watching the Sysco food trucks drive off the ferry and past fallow farmland every single day.  Normal was locals avoiding Gange…
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COVID-19: SD64 Schools Moving Toward Phase 3 Part-Time In Class Instruction

As you most likely have seen in the media or heard from your schools, the education sector is a key part of BC’s Restart Plan. Here in SD64, we have been working alongside the Ministry of Education and our neighbouring school districts to ensure that we are moving forward together and consistent with the expectations set out in BC’s plan. School districts across the province are moving toward increasing in-school services for students. Specifically, beginning June 1, learning in SD64 will look like this: Stage 3: Ministry of Education Return to Learning in Classrooms In-class learning for students in kindergarten to grade 5 on a part-time basis Access to in-class learning as needed for grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis Remote and online learning continues to be available for students Families can help us plan for the change by completing the Voluntary Return to School Survey. Having an accurate idea of who will be coming to school and who will be staying c…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Stay Close to Home This Weekend

Again, we thank you for your excellent efforts to flatten the COVID19 curve in weeks past. It is because of your dedication to our community’s health that we can begin to relax a few of the restrictions. At this time, we still need to adhere to some important guidelines to minimize the risk of a secondary outbreak. If we continue on this good path, we will be able to relax things further in June and July. Please: This long weekend, make smart choices. Stay close to home so we can keep our communities safe. Stay informed, be prepared and follow public health advice Practice good hygiene Frequent hand washing Avoid touching face Cough into your sleeve Disinfect frequently touched surfaces Stay at home and away from others if you’re feeling ill Don’t go to school or work sick Maintain physical distancing outside your household No handshaking or hugging Small numbers of contacts Keep a safe distance Clean your home…
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COVID-19: CRD Opens Outdoor Recreation Facilities

Effective May 14, outdoor recreation facilities will reopen at the Capital Regional District’s four recreation centres: Panorama Recreation Centre, Greenglade Community Centre, Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission (SEAPARC), and Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (SSI PARC).

The following outdoor facilities will be open:

Panorama Recreation: outdoor tennis courts, outdoor basketball court Greenglade Community Centre: outdoor basketball court SEAPARC: skate park, bike park SSI PARC: outdoor tennis courts, multi-sport court, bike park, skate park

Signage will be posted at each facility reminding users to observe health and safety precautions and follow best practices for physical distancing. These measures will help to ensure a safe outdoor recreation space for all. Users are expected to continue to adhere to public health guidelin…

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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island asks Potential Visitors to Stay Home, Stay Safe

Avoid visiting over the May long weekend - “Now is not the time to visit. We welcome you to come in the future when you can experience all that Salt Spring has to offer, but now is not that time.”  With the May long weekend looming, that’s the message from Salt Spring Island’s businesses, farms, and essential services. BC Ferries is reminding people to continue to avoid non-essential travel, and has extended the reduced ferry service to Salt Spring Island and other southern Gulf Islands. “I know the feeling of wanting a getaway -- we all do -- but that’s not what essential travel is,” says Laura Patrick, chair of the COVID-19 Farm and Business Response & Recovery Task Force, and Salt Spring Island trustee for the Islands Trust. “What’s essential right now is stopping the spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia, and maintaining Salt Spring’s limited supplies and services for locals,” Almost everything Salt Spring Island residents need comes via ferries. “There are ho…
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COVID-19: Island Health Begins Implementing Surgical Renewal Plan

Island Health is resuming elective surgeries with new measures in place to keep patients, staff and medical staff safe. We are now in the process of contacting patients to determine their health status and whether they are willing and able to move forward with surgery. We recognize some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery. To limit the number of patients requiring in-person pre-surgical assessments, Island Health is implementing new procedures to support virtual assessments, wherever possible and appropriate. These services will include virtual assessments, consultations and individual or group education sessions. To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19, a number of measures are being implemented as part of the surgical process: When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference prior to surgery. Modified scheduling and workflows to maintain physical distancing. Enhanced screeni…
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COVID-19: Trust Council Reminds People to Avoid Non-essential Travel to the Islands

In a region known for its welcoming farm stands, markets, and art studios, elected leaders are once again reminding people to avoid non-essential travel to the Gulf and Howe Sound islands and to minimize community interactions. As the Province starts to reopen gradually, the Islands Trust Council reminds visitors to stay close to home, and continue physical distancing and other measures a little bit longer. Trust Council suggests islanders continue to limit community interactions and refrain from extending invitations to visitors. "As we head into the May long weekend, we need people to remember our pleas that they avoid non-essential travel to the Gulf and Howe Sound islands and minimize community interactions as directed by the BC Centre for Disease Control,” emphasized Peter Luckham, Chair of the Islands Trust Council. “On most islands, our medical resources are non-existent or limited. In most cases, it is volunteers who offer first response, and we don't want to p…
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COVID-19: Shower Program at Rainbow Road Pool to Support Vulnerable Populations

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) will be opening the shower facilities at the Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre (262 Rainbow Road) starting May 11, 2020. Access to washroom and bathing facilities has been deemed an essential service for unsheltered persons by the Government of BC. As a result, funding has been provided by Emergency Management BC to help PARC cover the costs of free showers which will be made available to Salt Spring Island’s most vulnerable populations from 9am-1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the public health emergency. Patrons will be served one at a time and assigned a 30-minute time slot and private shower space. Between each shower time, change rooms and showers will be cleaned in accordance with the CRD Facilities Management COVID-19 Janitorial Guidelines. Patrons are encouraged to register for a time slot to avoid lengthy wait times. For more information, please call 250.537.14…
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COVID-19: Mental Health During the Pandemic

I have felt so many things during this unfolding time of the COVID-19 pandemic—the challenge of adjusting to the unknown; grief in what is happening in the world; care for our elderly and immunocompromised; appreciation for my own life slowing down and my own privilege when I know that there are so many in our world and in our community experiencing hardship. There are more. As I read the news and observe comments and reactions, it seems to me that the pandemic is showing us where there are gaps in society. Some have safety nets; others do not. Disparity in income, race, ability, the haves and have-nots, is being revealed to all. I have greatly appreciated leaders like Dr Bonnie Henry who have shown themselves to be knowledgeable, pragmatic, and caring. I also appreciate how many people are coming together. There is a different kind of reaching out occurring, whether it is people reaching out to family, friends, people they haven’t contacted for a while, or building connecti…
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The Pandemic Postcard Project - Salt Spring Edition

The Pandemic Postcard Project, Salt Spring Edition, is a literacy and/or art-promoting project, started by Literacy Alberni, that fosters community connection and legacy-keeping through storytelling and sharing. We’re inviting everyone in our community (as individuals or as families, partners, roommates, work teams, etc.) to share their stories, thoughts, struggles, successes, lessons learned, blessings given or received, and resolutions made during this moment in history… on postcards. Why? We’re connected primarily through technology these days through our own profiles and pages. The goal of this project is to celebrate that, while also creating a lasting, physical record of our resilience. Throughout the project, as submissions come in, we will share some of the Pandemic Postcards on the Salt Spring Exchange and on social media. When this is over, we will curate the cards and make them public in a display at the Salt Spring Library. Then all local Pandemic Postcards…
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COVID-19: Survey Results Indicate Salt Spring Businesses Hit Hard

The results from the recent COVID-19 island business survey have alarmed many in the business community including executive director of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Harkema. The response and recovery survey, a joint initiative of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce and the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), was sent to local businesses to gauge how the pandemic is impacting business. Harkema expected bad news, but the scale of challenges presented by local businesses was more than she anticipated. “Almost 60% of the businesses who responded to our survey are very experienced.  They know how to run a business – in normal times at least. But the pandemic has thrown many business owners into deep waters,” says Harkema. The survey garnered close to 100 responses and asked businesses a range of questions, such as whether or not they will be able to restart once the pandemic recedes.  About half of the respondents said they would reopen, but…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Literacy Cancels 2020 Book & Jewellery Sale

The Salt Spring Literacy Board has made a difficult decision: we have cancelled the annual Book and Jewellery Sale, which is held in November. The preparation and planning process for this sale begins in April. The volunteers need seven months to collect, sort, clean, repair and price donated items. We are unable to collect the books due to the need for social distancing and limiting the exchange and handling of goods. The volunteers who contribute the countless hours to make the sale possible would be put at risk should we begin collecting before it is entirely safe to do so. Please hang on to your books as we depend on your donations. We will communicate as soon as we can coordinate a book collection in a safe manner. Jewellery donations are easier to manage in a safe way. Island Savings has agreed to have a collection bin for jewellery in its branch, effective May 1. This bin is a safe receptacle for your treasured donations – simply drop your jewels into a hole at the…
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COVID-19: 2020 Salt Spring Island Fall Fair Cancelled

After much thought, the Board of the SSI Farmers' Institute has decided to cancel the 2020 Fall Fair. Our next Fall Fair will be September 18/19 2021. On a happy note, 2021 is the 125th Anniversary of our first Fall Fair. We will prevail through the current challenges and be ready to celebrate with gusto so mark your calendars now. Our thanks to all the exhibitors, volunteers, vendors and visitors who help to make our fair possible. Looking forward to your involvement in 2021. In the meantime, please stay safe, stay at home and we will all stay well.
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COVID-19: Harbour Air To Resume Salt Spring Flights with a Reduced Schedule

Daily flights begin operating between Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Sechelt and Salt Spring Island Over the past 38 years, Harbour Air has become a vital transportation link for coastal British Columbia. During the last few weeks, we have also seen the impact our service reductions have had on the communities we support. We know that “returning to operations” is not a “return to normal.” As we look towards the future, we are working hard to ensure that we are providing the safe, essential travel services you’ve come to expect from Harbour Air. The safety of our employees, their families and our communities is of the utmost importance to us. Please rest assured, we have adopted stringent safety measures that exceed both Transport Canada and Health Canada’s recommendations. We have introduced vigilant cleaning and physical distancing protocols, suspended scheduled flights and reduced our operations across the Province. Although we will continue to monitor the demand for …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 30th, 2020 - 1:27 PM

Thank you Salt Springers for your efforts to flatten the curve. It has worked and you have given local health care providers time to organize and prepare to care for you in the coming months. Ongoing, we will only post if there is news that is specifically relevant to Lady Minto and Salt Spring. Please continue to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations, wash your hands, do not touch your face and maintain your distance.
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