With about 10 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Richmond and some community transmission detected, a task force of community leaders was struck on Monday to share information about the effects of the globally declared pandemic.
The Richmond COVID-19 Community Task Force is being co-chaired by Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Fan Chun, chair of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
The group includes city managers, public health, school board officials, tourism and media outlets, including Richmond News publisher Alvin Chow.
Right now, there is a lot of information and it’s changing by the hour, explained Chun.
The task force is structured so that community stakeholders can talk, share information and hopefully resources, he added.
“It’s important, for instance, for our MLAs to understand that local employers are being stressed by their employee-health tax (EHT) payments coming due,” he said. “Or for the city staff to share information to Tourism Richmond that there are job opportunities in care homes for displaced hotel workers.”
Right now taking the time to connect is “vital” in order to fight this crisis “as one,” Chun said.
“I truly believe that sometimes the darkest moments can bring out the best in us,” he added.
School superintendent Scott Robinson told the task force the school district has established emergency operations and shut down the main school board office on Minoru Boulevard.
While the Ministry of Education suspended instruction on March 17, learning is still expected to continue, he explained. As well, school districts are expected to maintain some level of service for children of essential services workers as well as youth at-risk.
Craig Richmond, CEO of the Vancouver International Airport, reported that flights are down about 50 per cent and there are “significant layoffs,” while Nancy Small with Tourism Richmond noted hotels and restaurants are at “very low capacity.”
The task force will meet by phone or teleconference once a week to brief everyone in the group.
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