The latest developments on COVID-19 in Fort St. John | Squamish Chief

 

The latest developments on COVID-19 in Fort St. John

A running list of COVID-19 news concerning Fort St. John and northern B.C. Please check back regularly.

There were 31 active cases (216 total) in the Northern Health region as of Sept. 14, with the first death reported Monday. Seven people are in hospital, three in critical care. There have been 184 recoveries, and 16,372 tests to date. 

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The BC Centre for Disease Control reports 49 cases in northeast B.C. from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10, and 99 cases total since the start of the year.

A public exposure alert remains after events in Prespatou in August. The 24 cases linked to a religious gathering in Deadwood, Alta., have all recovered, according to Northern Health. 

There are 1,594 active cases (7,279 total), and 219 related deaths in B.C. There are 58 patients in hospital, 16 in critical care. Another 5,446 people have recovered, and 3,047 are under public health monitoring.

In northern Alberta, there were were 232 active cases, 975 recoveries, and 33 deaths as of Sept. 14. Five people are in hospital.

There are 16 active cases and two deaths in the city of Grande Prairie and surrounding county; 26 active cases in Northern Lights County; 15 active cases and one death in Clear Hills County; 65 active cases and 12 deaths in Mackenzie County; and 51 active cases one death in Fort McMurray.

The latest for Sept. 14:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry says the public will be informed if there are any COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government against accusations it didn't act fast enough to warn Canadians about the danger COVID-19 posed to health and the economy.

  • Trudeau warned Canadians against relaxing their guard against COVID-19 as he and his cabinet kicked off two days of closed-door meetings to discuss the pandemic and how to lead the country through a second wave.

  • Air passengers will be asked to provide contact information at check-in so local public health officials can get in touch if needed.

  • There are three Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,539 workers reported at camp.

  • The Fort St. John Senior Flyers hockey club is optimistic about icing a team this season, but remains unsure of when on-ice activities will begin.

  • When the 2020-21 Inconnu Swim Club season begins Sept. 21, it will be under the direction of new head coach Josh Sorensen.

  • A trio of federal cabinet ministers is warning COVID-19 researchers to take additional precautions to protect their efforts from thieves and vandals.

The latest for Sept. 10:

The latest for Sept. 9:

  • B.C. is spending $1.6 billion on flu immunization, health care staffing, testing, and contact tracing.

  • Increasing case counts in B.C. are partly the result of increased testing.

  • The Site C workforce continued its approach back to 5,000 in July as construction nears pre-pandemic levels and record-high employment set earlier this year.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,553 workers reported at camp.

  •  WE Charity says it is closing its Canadian operations, blaming COVID-19 and the political fallout with the Liberal government.

  • The federal government is extending by one month the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses.

  • The federal government and eight banks have launched a $221-million program for Black Canadian entrepreneurs, more than half of it for cash loans.

  • The annual Terry Fox Run is going virtual throughout the Peace region this year to mark its 40th anniversary.

  • The Northeast B.C. Predators wrapped training camp in Tumbler Ridge last week, and are ready and cleared to begin play in the Northern B.C. Female A League in October.

  • The Fivestar Boxing Academy kept things rolling throughout the summer, and is ready to resume full training for the fall.

The latest for Sept. 8:

  • The average daily number of Canadians testing positive over the last week is 545 — a 25% increase over the previous week

  • There are two Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,519 workers reported at camp.

  • The level of satisfaction with how the federal government has dealt with the pandemic fell by six points to 64%, a rating identical to the one posted by municipal administrations.

  • For those who have chosen to send their kids back to school, mornings are soon about to get a little more complicated.

The latest for Sept. 4:

The latest for Sept. 3:

  • The B.C. Teachers Federation wants $242 million in federal funding earmarked for B.C.’s return to in-class instruction to decrease class sizes and promote physical distancing.

  • Education Minister Rob Fleming says school districts will decide where best to devote the $242 million in federal funding.

  • The B.C. government says temporary pandemic pay that was promised to essential workers in mid-May should be coming in October.

  • 61% of Canadians who took part in the Pew Research Center survey released Thursday described the country's current economic situation as bad.

  • Premier John Horgan says the province will continue to use a "carrot and stick" approach to encouraging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,480 workers reported at camp.

  • The Liberal and Conservative parties say they'll no longer use the federal government's wage-subsidy program.

  • The commander of the Canadian Armed Forces is encouraging his troops to download the federal government's app for tracking potential exposure to COVID-19, saying he has no privacy or security concerns about the program.

  • The head of Canada’s public health agency has offered some tips for safe sex in a pandemic, suggesting that in-person contact doesn’t have to mean face-to-face.

  • The 2021 world luge championship will not be held in Whistler because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • International travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson airport can now be tested for COVID-19 as part of a voluntary study to explore the effectiveness of quarantines.

The latest for Sept. 2:

The latest for Sept. 1:

  • A passenger with COVID-19 was aboard a flight out of Fort St. John on Aug. 26, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

  • An employee at the Rolla Ag has been confirmed for COVID-19.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,477 workers reported at camp.

  •  An outbreak in the Nass Valley has prompted an alert from the Northern and First Nations health authorities.

  • The Pomeroy Sport Centre and Kids Arena Fieldhouse will open Tuesday, Sept. 8. The opening of the North Peace Leisure Pool has been pushed to Saturday, Sept. 19. 

  • The federal government does not plan to make getting a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory.

  • Legislature columnist Les Leyne, on the pandemic eating B.C.'s last surplus, and current one too: "The ongoing countermeasures all rely on billions of dollars of new debt."

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry's says her back-to-school ad being criticized as unrealistic wasn't meant to be a commercial about what classrooms would look like.

The latest for Aug. 31:

  • With the coming of fall and flu season, British Columbians need to go back to shrinking their social bubbles and interactions, says provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.

  • The pandemic turned B.C.'s 2019-20 budget forecast from black to red in less than three months, with the government's final budget numbers for the fiscal year ended March 31 showing a deficit of $321 million. This year's budget numbers are pointing to a 2020-21 deficit of $12.5 billion,

  • The federal government has signed agreements with two more American suppliers to reserve millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines for Canadians.

  • As the Liberal government toils away on a throne speech and post-pandemic recovery plan, newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is equally at work on his own response.

  • A passenger suffering a case of COVID-19 was aboard a flight out of Prince George on Aug. 21. 

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,443 workers reported at camp.

  • Canada's federal banking regulator is phasing out requirements around mortgage deferrals for homeowners hard-hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Capital spending in the country's oil and gas sector fell by 54 per cent in the quarter ended June 30 as numerous producers chopped budgets amid sliding global oil prices.

The latest for Aug. 28:

The latest for Aug. 27:

  • The majority of cases in northeast B.C. from January to July were in Peace River North, according to new data published by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

  • All indications are B.C. politicians will continue to avoid the B.C. Legislature by conducting meetings remotely, while also sending children and teachers into classrooms with no physical distancing among cohorts.

  • The double blow of collapsing oil prices and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed Alberta into a historic deficit of $24.2 billion.

  • Warnings of possible COVID-19 exposure have been issued for eight more flights.

  • There are four Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,511 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 26:

  • Band will continue, inter-school sports are cancelled, and mandatory masks on the bus — click here for highlights from School District 60's restart plan.

  • The federal government is promising to deliver “up to” $2 billion to provinces and territories to bolster safety plans to bring students back into the classroom.

  • The North West Junior Hockey Leage season won't begin on time, though teams could begin a modified season, or "pod play", on Oct. 26.

  • B.C. seniors in long-term care and their family members are being asked to participate in a survey to chronicle their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest for Aug. 25:

  • A 20-year-old Victoria man who had two parties broken up over the weekend says he plans to fight the $2,300 ticket he received for breaching the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

  • MP Bob Zimmer, on PM Trudeau shutting down Parliament: "Earlier this year, the Prime Minister shamefully suspended regular sittings of the House of Commons to try to avoid accountability. Now he has locked out Opposition MPs who were working hard to fix his government’s pandemic programs, help Canadians, and get to the bottom of the WE scandal.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the NDP's school plan: "I know there will be a lot of challenges ahead, but I cannot thank parents, teachers and school districts enough for everything they have done to help support our children’s learning and for reaching out and engaging with my colleagues and me as much as they have these past few months — and I hope you will all continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead."

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control has added several more flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures.

  • The federal government is pledging $82.5 million to improve access and address growing demand for mental health services in Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Canada's chief public health officer is warning against the spread of online untruths about vaccines, as a new survey suggests some Canadians are worried about getting inoculated against COVID-19.

The latest for Aug. 24:

  • More than 260 new cases have been confirmed since Friday, but B.C. is still doing a good job of limiting the virus’ spread through contact tracing, says Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  • Enbridge recently made a donation of $10,000 to the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation's COVID-19 Greatest Need Campaign.

  • British Columbians have never bought so much legal weed. The province’s legal cannabis retailers sold $29,393,000 worth of recreational marijuana products in June – almost seven times the $4,230,000 in revenue that they generated in June 2019.

  • Health experts don’t know exactly what it will look like having two viruses – the flu and COVID-19 – circulating at the same time this fall, but it could be “dangerous.”

  • Use glitter to teach kids about COVID spread, paramedics say.

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, trucker Dave Wye had to think long and hard about whether he was willing to stay on the front lines. The 54-year-old, a second-generation long-haul driver from Windsor, Ont., worried his exposure while transporting whiskey and wine between Quebec and Kentucky would risk his own health as well as his family's.

  • Victoria police have handed out tickets to partiers breaching provincial health orders two nights in a row — both times at the same residence.

The latest for Aug. 21:

  • Property owners and organizers can be fined $2,000 for hosting events in violation of public health orders in B.C. under stronger penalties announced today.

  • Police and the likes of liquor, gaming and conservation inspectors and officers can now fine site owners, such as businesses, or organizers of gatherings and events who contravene the provincial health officer's order on gatherings and events, which are limited to under 50 people and must provide for physical distancing and other safety measures.

  • But facing media questions, it is not clear, in some instances, what constitutes a violation, nor is it clear the body of evidence that supports these new enforcement measures. Farnworth was not able to provide data on how many cases of COVID-19 have occurred as a result of explicit violations of public health orders.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,466 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 20:

  • The federal Liberals are rolling out a $37-billion income-support plan for workers whose earnings have crashed during the pandemic.

  • An independent Senator is advocating for an experimental basic income program at the provincial level, citing the complications to the employment insurance program after the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,459 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 19:

  • For the third day in a row, a record number of people are fighting COVID-19 infections in B.C. — the count rose to 798 on August 19, up from 775 on August 18, and 743 on August 17.

  • Canada’s natural resource and manufacturing sectors can provide up to 2.6 million jobs and a 17% jump in GDP to guide the nation’s economic recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new report issued Wednesday.

  • The B.C. Teachers' Federation wants the province to reduce class sizes and make the use of masks mandatory wherever physical distancing isn't possible as part of its back-to-school plan.

  • The Northeast Regional Community Foundation says it has awarded $75,000 in emergency grants to eight Peace region groups responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,474 workers reported at camp.

  • Some four million workers will move onto EI next month when a key COVID-19 benefit for workers, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, begins to wind down.

The latest for Aug. 18:

  • The province has again extended its provincial state of emergency.

  • A third and final regional business liaison has been hired to help area businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,444 workers reported at camp.

  • Stricter penalties are on the way for those who ignore public health guidelines, after the province reported a record-breaking jump in COVID-19 cases.

  • How COVID-19 is changing back-to-school shopping and budgets.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the NDP's back to school plans: "At a time when B.C. is recording more daily cases of COVID than we have seen since April, households with immune-compromised children or multi-generational families are seeking other learning options for their children. Troublingly, the NDP isn’t offering the same hybrid learning options that were available in June and most of the distance learning programs that are available are already being overwhelmed with applications."

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain, on how to create wealth: "The most profitable businesses are difficult to live without, difficult to compete with, difficult to replicate. I will use some examples to illustrate. Let’s say that you have a choice between investing in a Canadian bank, or a marijuana company."

  • Taking on more credit card debt has not been part of the pandemic plan for many Canadians — credit card balances fell 12.3 per cent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

  • The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added more domestic flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures.

  • B.C. will continue to offer a $300 COVID-19 crisis supplement for low-income seniors, as well as financial support for provincial disability and income clients.

The latest for Aug. 17:

The latest for Aug. 14:

  • B.C. has identified 247 cases of COVID-19 in the past three days – more than in any other three-day period since cases started appearing in late January.

  • The Fort St. John Public Library will be open to the public for browsing starting Aug. 18.

  • There are two Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,447 workers reported at camp.

  • The Canada-US border will remain closed to non-essential traffic for another 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While some people can develop severe illness from COVID-19, others may have impacts lasting weeks or months – even if they were never hospitalized, and had a “relatively mild illness,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  • Health officials are warning of possible COVID-19 exposure on four more flights through Vancouver.

The latest for Aug. 13:

The latest for Aug. 12

The latest for Aug. 11:

The latest for Aug. 10:

The latest for Aug. 7:

The latest for Aug. 6:

The latest for Aug. 5:

The latest for Aug. 4:

  • Eighty-two B.C. doctors have signed a document urging the provincial government to mandate the wearing of face masks on transit, in crowds and for all indoor spaces outside of people’s homes.
  • The federal government says it is rolling out stricter conditions for Americans entering Canada and heading to Alaska. While Americans are a concern for towns along the Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster says incidents remain low in his gateway community.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,471 workers reported at camp.

  • Dr. Theresa Tam says that vaccines in development for COVID-19 provide hope but will not mean an immediate end to the pandemic. She says the Public Health Agency of Canada is planning to be responding to the pandemic for at least a year and more likely two or three.

  • The federal Liberals have given companies more than $5.8 billion in pandemic-related contracts for personal protective gear and medical supplies. But many details of the companies involved and the amounts of their contracts are being kept from public view.

  • The federal government's COVID-19 contact tracing app is facing criticism for its download requirements, which restrict some Canadians from accessing and using the app.

  • Newly released figures show the two biggest federal political parties are seeing a drop in donations this year.

The latest for July 31: 

  • The B.C. government has appointed a new special advisor to provide “fresh eyes” on Site C after BC Hydro expressed serious concerns with the dam project’s schedule, budget, and geotechnical challenges. Company president Chris O'Riley blamed delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and said construction crews are also experiencing “geological challenges" at the site.

  • Dawson Creek Hospital's 'no visitors' rule has daughter worried: "It makes no sense at all. I’ve been told I can’t see my own mother, but her roommate who is in the hospital room, comes down in her own wheelchair, and I chat with all the time."

  • The BC Teachers' Federation is calling for a delay in the start of the new school year to address its concerns with the government’s plan for a full-time return for students.

  • Ottawa is developing plans to transition CERB recipients to Employment Insurance, but further details aren’t expected for at least a few more weeks.

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain, on the importance of perspective: "Given all this – the wars, the politics, the economic hard times, even the pandemics – as I write this the Dow Jones Industrial Average is sitting at 26,652. Recall that it was at 8235 in September 2001."

The latest for July 30:

The latest for July 29:

The latest for July 28:

The latest for July 27:

The latest for July 24:

The latest for July 23:

The latest for July 22:

The latest for July 21:

The latest for July 20:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are no new COVID-19 cases at Site C, and there are now 15 Site C workers who are self-isolating at the work camp outside Fort St. John. 

  • B.C. has seen a worrisome uptick in new COVID-19 cases in recent days, prompting provincial health officer Bonnie Henry to warn that “we do risk a rebound.” B.C. had 51 cases confirmed in a single day, between Friday and Saturday, and 102 between Friday and today.

  • A coalition of business groups is calling for "urgent action" from all levels of government to save the food service industry amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A Bank of Canada economist says the current economic recovery could be different than the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.

  •  Canadian consumers are more upbeat about their personal debt than they have been for three years, despite the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll has found.

The latest for July 17:

The latest for July 16:

The latest for July 15:

The latest for July 14:

  • The B.C. government is expecting $6.3 billion less revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an operating deficit of $12.5 billion for the 2020 budget.

  • Scheduled visits began this week at the Peace Villa and Rotary Manor care homes in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

  • Results from the pandemic-friendly Oilmen's Trapshoot: Dave Wallace won the high overall for the event, hitting 97 of 100 targets. Rapid Wireline won the team event, hitting 461 of 500 clays.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the back to school plan due July 29: "B.C. parents — myself included — are very much looking forward to seeing what this plan will look like, hoping that it will offer the flexibility and guidelines that teachers will need to prepare learning plans and for families to safely send their kids back to school."

  • The province is fast-tracking legislation to handle situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic so workers can access benefits more easily.

  • How will employers and employees need to embrace the new conditions of the workplace? Click here for HR in the time of COVID-19, a podcast conversation with Jennifer Lee of Deloitte.

  • Canada and the United States are now widely expected to extend their mutual ban on non-essential cross-border travel.

  • Canadian trials have just begun for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine but its Quebec-based manufacturer is already tempering expectations.

  • A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the federal government should tighten the taps on COVID-19 spending to keep the deficit from flooding the nation's future.

  • A survey by Statistics Canada suggests that almost one in five businesses will look to further staffing cuts, bankruptcy or closing their doors if present COVID-19 conditions last for six months or more.

The latest for July 13:

The latest for July 9:

The latest for July 8:

The latest for July 7:

The latest for July 6:

The latest for July 3:

The latest for July 2:

The latest for June 30:

The latest for June 29:

  • Health Minister Adrian Dix says he wants to see the evidence that it's safe for the country's two largest airlines to drop their in-flight distancing policies during the pandemic.

  • More than 300 bags were put on brief display in Fort St. John Saturday night to honour loved ones lost to cancer. The annual Arnie Isberg softball tournament was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but the popular luminary ceremony that closes the event saw more bags than normal.

  • There have been no new deaths from COVID-19 since Friday, and though daily case counts remain low, Dr Bonnie Henry warned that anyone who was at a Vancouver strip club in recent days may have been infected.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,281 workers reported at camp.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an ongoing review of the federal response to COVID-19 will feed into plans for responding to a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus.

  • Figures released Monday by the Public Health Agency of Canada showed Quebec and Ontario still remain the most heavily affected regions of the country. Multiple distinct peaks in the curve for Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick should also serve as reminders that a resurgence of COVID-19 can happen in any place at any time, even in areas with low levels of community transmission.

The latest for June 26:

The latest for June 25:

The latest for June 24:

The latest for June 23:

  • B.C. is approaching the threshold for renewed growth in COVID-19 cases as the economy reopens and residents increase their contacts with fellow British Columbians.

  • Hudson's Hope says it plans to open its outdoor pool with restrictions on Monday, July 6.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on delayed economic recovery spending: "Why are British Columbians only now getting a forum to discuss how they would like to see their taxes support them? We are not dealing with a small stimulus package here, we are talking about a billion-dollar relief fund."

  • B.C. business groups are asking the province to extend the temporary layoff time period until August 31, to prevent COVID-19-affected companies from closing permanently should paying severance to employees exceed their fiscal capacity.

  • A physically distanced B.C. legislature opened Monday to the announcement that the BC NDP government will seek to extend emergency orders for up to a year.

The latest for June 22:

The latest for June 19:

  • North Peace Secondary’s Class of 2020 made history Friday, celebrating a graduation unlike any other. Hundreds tuned in to a virtual ceremony celebrating some 300 graduates, as traditional ceremonies that fill the rafters of the North Peace Arena were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • B.C is handing COVID-19 border screening work over to Ottawa effective June 20.

  • B.C. is extending the temporary rental supplement until the end of August to continue to support renters and landlords as well as maintaining the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent.

  • Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is scaling back the government's planned Clean Fuel Standard in the short term to give the fossil fuel industry a bit more time to recover from the pandemic-induced economic collapse.

  • Canadian exports of crude oil by rail dropped by more than half in April compared to March as North American fuel demand plunged due to measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest for June 18:

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,279 workers reported at camp.

  • There were no active cases of COVID-19 in Northern Health as of Thursday, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

  • Indoor recreation facilities in Fort St. John will remain closed to the public until September, though some outdoor programming is expected to resume in July.

  • After months of anticipation, the Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch Society said Thursday they will be able to hold a 2020 season as of July 6.

  • Months after B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry ordered all workers at seniors' care homes and other healthcare sites work solely at one location, the order is finally being fully adhered to, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.

  • Canada is prepared to launch a contact-tracing app to better track the spread of COVID-19.

The latest for June 17:

  • More COVID-19 restrictions could ease next week, John Horgan says.

  • The province plans to spend an additional six weeks consulting the public on how to spend $1.5 billion that has been set aside to help with "stimulus and recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier John Horgan says.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises an economic and fiscal ‘snapshot’ by July 8. He says a full economic update — one that would include forecasts of what will happen in the next three to five years — at this time would be unrealistic.

  • Northern Health board chair Colleen Nyce, on surgery renewal for northerners: "Between May 18 and June 14th, we called 2,639 patients to ask if they wished to continue with their surgery and we completed 1,083 scheduled and unscheduled surgeries."

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,267 workers reported at camp.

  • The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says if bridge loans for smaller oil and gas companies aren't ready to flow soon some companies will have to turn to less-safe options to survive the COVID-19 slowdown.

The latest for June 16:

  • B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions are under further review this week, but the limit on gatherings to a maximum of 50 people will not change.

  • The federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit another eight weeks. The extension means the $2,000 monthly payments are now set to conclude after the last full week of August.

  • The province says it will cut retail liquor markups to help the hospitality sector recover from lockdown. Restaurants, bars and pubs currently pay for liquor purchases at full retail price, which is the wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the ministry's liquor distribution branch.

The latest for June 15:

The latest for June 12:

The latest for June 11:

The latest for June 10:

  • There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in the last few days, but two clusters have been identified as the result of "large" family connections.

  • The NPSS Class of 2020 graduation ceremony won't be normal, though it will certainly be memorable. A parade is planned for June 19.

  • The North Peace Fall Fair has been cancelled for this year, though organizers hope to host some kind of event to celebrate the region’s farming roots.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,212 workers reported at camp.

  • The Hudson’s Hope pool remains closed indefinitely, Mayor Dave Heiberg says.

  • Money columnist Brad Brain, on financial recovery post-COVID: "Grab your current investment statements, your insurance polices, your group benefits booklet, your will, etc. and refamiliarize yourself with how things stand right now. It’s not unusual for people to have a fuzzy recollection of what they have on the go financially."

  • The B.C. government will consider a proposal for restaurant owners to be able to buy alcohol at wholesale prices, much like private and government liquor store owners are able to do, B.C. Premier John Horgan said June 10.

  • Landlords and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are at loggerheads over evictions and unpaid rents as pandemic bans on evictions and rental increases continue.

The latest for June 9:

  • Recent protests in Vancouver and Victoria against racism have numbered in the thousands, raising worry that B.C.'s success at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic could be put in jeopardy.

  • The Fort St. John Salvation Army says its thrift store will reopen Friday, June 12.

  • Pickleball has moved into the spotlight amid sports cancellations. The Taylor courts are open for use, and limited to groups of four.

  • Taylor Speedway begins its 2020 season June 12 and 13. Unfortunately, spectators will not be allowed at this time. 

  • The National High School Rodeo Finals will take place July 17 to 23 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The High School Rodeo of B.C. board is chosing its team.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,191 workers reported at camp.

  • COVID-19 has caused a slowdown of the global economy but, despite that, cargo volumes moving through the Port of Prince Rupert are on a record pace.

  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says everything from gyms and arenas to spas, movie theatres, libraries, pools and sports activities are being given a green light as of Friday.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again cautioned the federal government will be going after those who “knowingly and willfully” have made false claims for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The latest for June 8:

  • There have been no new deaths over the last three days, and only 29 new cases over a three-day period, with new cases being in the single digits over the last two days.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,161 workers reported at camp.

  • The Fort St. John Hospital Foundation says its annual cancer fighting fundraiser Bluey Day has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12.

  • The Peace Region Motorsports Association kicked off its 2020 season with a Taylor Autocross event on Sunday, June 7. It's one of the few sports organizations in the Peace to hold an event so far this summer. 

  • The federal government will permit “limited exemptions” to immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit the country and reunite with loved ones.

  • The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers now estimates that $23.3 billion in capital will be invested in Canada this year, down from about $37 billion in its January forecast.

The latest for June 5:

The latest for June 4:

The latest for June 3:

The latest for June 2:

The latest for June 1:

  • The Peace River Regional District amended its grant writing services on May 28, opening it up to local businesses throughout the region affected by COVID-19. 

  • Small businesses in B.C. that have suffered significant revenue losses during the COVID-19 pandemic will be protected from eviction effective June 1.

  • British Columbia's lowest paid workers get a pay increase Monday with a scheduled minimum wage hike at a crucial time for small businesses as they look for ways to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Ottawa is offering $2.2 billion to cities as they face what the prime minister describes as a “cash crunch” during the pandemic. The money was, in fact, already earmarked as federal support for cities via the gas tax fund.

  • Ottawa’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the perception of residents on the federal government. We could assume that all premiers would be the beneficiaries of a similar bump in public affection, but not every area of the country is feeling the same way.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 730 workers reported at camp.

The latest for May 30:

The latest for May 29:

The latest developments for May 28:

The latest developments for May 27:

The latest developments for May 26:

  • MLA Dan Davies has called on government to ensure classrooms have access to handwashing and hand sanitation stations, and to allocate funds so schools can buy PPE for teachers and staff.

  • Blueberry River First Nation says it will be removing its security checkpoint and reopening backroad access to the reserve starting June 1.

  • The province says it received more than 1,100 applications to clean up more than 2,400 dormant oil and gas wells in northeast B.C. on Monday.

  • More than 11,500 northern B.C. residents have taken the province's COVID survey to date. The survey closes May 31 and can be completed online or by phone.

  • Restaurants have been ordered to collect diners data for COVID tracing, however, the collection of that personal information is subject to provincial privacy laws.

  • Hungry to dine out? Check out our list of Fort St. John restaurant reopenings.

  • Via Rail service between Prince George, Jasper and Prince Rupert will resume on July 5.

  • The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities conference for community leaders to discuss issues for government lobbying can be held electronically, according to a new ministerial order.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on natural resources and the road to recovery: "These industries will play a crucial role in our economic recovery and to see these industries become competitive again, more is needed from this government to support what has been the backbone of this province’s economy for so long."

  • Keeping a clean house amidst daily struggles: Stephanie Giesbrecht's Youtube channel "The Secret Slob" has amassed more than 57,000 subscribers. "With this whole COVID-19 thing, moms especially are pulled in so many different directions and it can be intimidating."

  • The federal government is tapping General Motors Co. to produce 10 million face masks.

The latest developments for May 25:

The latest developments for May 22:

  • Central Mountain Air will resume commercial flights to Fort St. John starting July 6.

  • Ovintiv says it will be donating $150,000 to charities providing food relief. Charities include the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living, Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society, Nawican Friendship Centre, Network Ministries, The Pouce Coupe Food Bank, The Salvation Army, South Peace Seniors Access Society: Meals For You Program, and St. Marks Anglican Church, as well as to local Indigenous communities.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 781 workers reported at camp.

The latest developments for May 21:

  • Businesses should expect random inspections as they prepare to re-open under the province's restart plan.

  • Schools are considered back in session and Fort St. John RCMP says it will be enforcing school speed zones.

  • Fort St. John restaurants are reopening dine-in service starting this week. Click here for a list of reopenings.

  • Fort St. John city councillors will vote next week to spend nearly $10,000 from a corporate donation for COVID-19 on trees and gardening workshops.

  • The museum says it will reopen on Monday, June 15, however, it will not be offering guided tours, programs, or events.

  • The museum is also collecting local stories, photographs, and artefacts to document Fort St. John’s COVID-19 history.

  • The 2019-20 High School Rodeo of B.C. season has come to an end, including the cancellation of the Seniors Provincial High School Finals scheduled June 12 to 14 in Fort St. John.

  • This year's Charlie Lake cleanup will take place over two weeks June 1 to 14. The North Peace landfill will be providing free dumping during the cleanup period for Charlie Lake residents.

  • There will be no Pride walk and festival in Fort St. John this year, but organizers say they are making alternative plans to celebrate.

  • Drilling and well completion companies stand to suffer the most as producers will be reluctant to reverse cuts in spending and production linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and its affect on fuel demand.

  • The federal government is pledging $75 million to organizations helping Indigenous people living in urban areas and off-reserve amidst the pandemic.

  • Active COVID-19 cases in B.C. have fallen 20% in the past week. This metric is important in showing the extent of the virus in the province and the likelihood that new people will be infected — the fewer people there are who are alive and infectious, the less chance there is that uninfected people will come into contact with the virus.

  • British Columbians can now have wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements witnessed remotely under new orders from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor.

  • Canfor will close its Isle Pierre sawmill while cutting production at two of its pulp mills in Prince George. The company blamed the decisions on a lack of economically viable timber and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest developments for May 20:

  • Fort St. John businesses began the process of reopening this week after months of lockdown restrictions were lifted. It's day two of the province's economic reboot from the COVID-19 pandemic, following industry-specific WorkSafeBC guidelines for restaurants, cafes, pubs, salons, personal services, and retailers.

  • B.C. Premier John Horgan says he believes the province's economic restart is off to a good start: “On balance I’m pretty satisfied with how we’re underway," he said.

  • District of Taylor councillors want more details on what it will take and what it will cost to fully reopen Peace Island Park to campers this year.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 795 workers reported at camp.

  • Though the Fort St. John Huskies will never be able to officially claim the 2019-20 Senators Cup title, the team can think of this season as the culmination of a 13-year journey to regain a winning culture.

  • The first annual Peace Valley Folk Festival has been postponed to next year.

  • The federal government says it’s working with provinces to cover 50% of commercial rent for small businesses under financial pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the latest developments for May 19:

  • Since March 16, approximately 1,200 urgent surgeries have been performed in the Northern Health region.

  • University Hospital of Northern B.C. keeps COVID at bay: “Our initial modeling and predictions were terrible; we were going to be completely overwhelmed and we have preparations in place for that, but we’ve been lucky so far."

  • Air Canada plans to resume flights between Fort St. John and Vancouver starting on June 22.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 770 workers reported at camp.

  • City hall and development services reopened today for front counter service.

  • The 4-H Achievement Days have been cancelled, but District 4-H Clubs are still planning on holding a beef, sheep and swine sale.

  • Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared border another 30 days.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on caution and collaboration in B.C.'s economic reboot: "As members of the Official Opposition, we have been working closely with constituents and stakeholders across our ridings to hear their concerns. Over the past few weeks, Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson has put forward several ideas to government."

  • Columnist Judy Kucharuk, on the race for beauty: "Let’s face it, we aren’t re-emerging from our cocoon of self-isolation looking like butterflies. Some of us (me) look like melted candles, and not the expensive ones."

  • The United Way of Northern B.C. will be distributing more than $708,000 in federal funding to local charities looking to adapt their frontline services to support vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the latest developments for May 18:

  • The McLeod Lake Indian Band has issued a warning about a band member living in Prince George who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not following quarantine orders while he continues to engage in high-risk behaviours.

  • Health Canada has authorized vaccine clinical trials at Dalhousie University.

  • As some British Columbia businesses prepare to reopen their doors on Tuesday when the province enters the second phase of its COVID-19 restart plan, others say they're holding off while they grapple with new health protocols.

  • Canadians stay cautious about easing COVID-19 restrictions: poll

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 807 workers reported at camp.

  • Canada is part of a coalition of 62 countries calling for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the World Health Organization’s timeline of actions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The World Health Organization bowed to calls Monday from most of its member states to launch an independent probe into how it managed the international response to the coronavirus, which has been clouded by finger-pointing between the U.S. and China over a pandemic that has killed over 300,000 people and levelled the global economy.

Here are the latest developments for May 15:

  • B.C. students and schoolchildren will have the option to return to the classroom part-time starting June 1. The program will be completely voluntary, and the choice to participate will be completely in the hands of individual parents.

  • A Fort St. John man says he was the target of racist slurs while grocery shopping on Tuesday. Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise in Canada ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, due to the virus originating in Wuhan, China.

  • Peace Island Park may soon be open in a limited capacity to RVs, but remain closed for day use.

  • Columnists Charo Lloret and Kalpana Loganathan, on the incompetent bureaucracy scam: "Consider this a complaint, Mr. Trudeau. Perhaps you should pick up your cellphone and record how long does it take you to contact EI to access the emergency help you have announced ad nauseam?"

  • There are zero Site C workers in self-isolation, and 834 workers reported at camp.

  • Ottawa will extend the wage subsidy program by three months to the end of August.

Here are the latest developments for May 14:

  • 2020 NPSS grad plans have been outlined: "For those that still want the traditional ceremony, we are truly sorry that you will not be able to participate in the traditional ceremony. We know it sucks," says Principal Randy Pauls.

  • BC Hydro says it will begin increasing construction activities Site C. The first increase in work will focus on restarting some of the main civil works on the earthfill dam and roller-compacted concrete dam buttress, the company said May 14.

  • There are zero Site C workers in self-isolation, and 834 workers reported at camp.

  • As B.C. reopens, communities need to know numbers: "With numbers down (to a single digit on Tuesday), society reactivating and people set to increase their chances of infection by exposing themselves to a larger range of potential transmitters, there are now much stronger reasons to make community numbers available than to keep them hidden," writes John Gleeson.

  • More than 70% of B.C. residents support province’s plan to reopen economy, poll says.

  • Reopening your business: things to know from WorkSafeBC Director of OHS Consultation and Education Services Chris Black.

  • The key guideline for places of worship is a continued ban on gatherings of more than 50 people. And should religious facilities restart services with fewer than 50 people, they will be expected to ensure augmented hygiene and physical distancing norms, Premier John Horgan says.

  • Seniors columnist Ruby McBeth, on being careful in public places: "As the restrictions are loosened, I for one want to be careful in public places. I have some face masks I can wear and I am starting to use them."

  • Observers say the second outbreak of COVID-19 at an oilsands mine work camp in northern Alberta is concerning but the industry is dealing with the risk in an appropriate way.

  • Travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic might help British Columbia defend against invasive mussels, but the province is taking no chances as it works to keep the creatures out of B.C. waterways.

  • MP Zimmer, on economic recovery and the Taylor Bridge: "While we all know we aren’t out of the woods yet, there is a reason for cautious optimism and I believe now is the time that we should begin thinking about what infrastructure projects in our region could help our local economy recover and thrive."

  • From our letters, on Taylor's decision to slash 2020 tax rates: "Hats off and congratulations to the District of Taylor for their gutsy, but right move to significantly cut property taxes – an example that unfortunately the City of Fort St. John seems unable or unwilling to follow," writes Steve Thorlakson.

  • National parks, historic sites partly reopening June 1, but no camping yet.

  • This year's Texas 4000 team has cancelled its bike ride to Alaska due to Covid-19. Students from the University of Texas make the annual trek from Austin to Anchorage raising funds in the fight against cancer, and are always sure to stop and spend a night with Rotarians in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.

  • The Fort St John RCMP will likely reopen front counter services by the end of the month. 

  • Canada’s fish and seafood sector is getting a boost from Ottawa to the tune of $470 million.

Here are the latest developments for May 13:

  • Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday $120 million in funding to clean up 2,000 dormant and orphan wells in northern B.C. The province says funding will be open to oil and gas field service companies and contractors based in B.C., with registration, office and operations in B.C.

  • Blueberry River band member affiliated with COVID-19 returns home: "During this COVID-19 outbreak, our community has rallied around to protect our Elders and vulnerable band members from this health threat. Because of how contagious this respiratory virus is, we continue to restrict those who can come into Blueberry River First Nation in an effort to shield our band members, especially our Elders."

  • The Peace River Regional District says it will reopen day-use areas at four regional and community parks this weekend. Montney Centennial Regional Park will open first on Thursday, May 14, followed by Iver Johnson Community Park on Friday, May 15. By the weekend, residents will be able to visit day-use parks at Sundance and Spencer Tuck parks.

  • Provincial parks will reopen just in time for the long weekend. Most northern provincial parks will open for day-use on Thursday, May 14.

  • The 2020 Halfway River rodeo is cancelled: "We just made the decision to take care of our elders and membership.T there's a lot of uncertainty still around COVID-19 and we want to take care of ourselves and everyone who would come to the rodeo," said organizer Jeff Metecheah.

  • Peace region gym owners are now in possession of guidelines from Northern Health as it relates to re-opening.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 841 workers reported at camp.

  • Columnist Judy Kucharuk, on Physical Distancing Stress Syndrome: "Has anyone else experienced Physical Distancing Stress Syndrome? I can only describe it as an anxiety-ridden response to entering a store without arrows on the floor."

  • Students facing little hope of landing a summer job during the pandemic will be able to apply for federal assistance beginning Friday.

Here are the latest developments for May 12:

  • A woman from the Blueberry River First Nation has returned home from hospital after a fight with COVID-19.

  • Starting today, Northern Health will begin to contact patients to book procedures, and to confirm if they are willing and able to move forward with surgery. 

  • COVID-19 testing equipment has arrived in Fort St. John, and Northern Health anticipates tests to start being processed here within two weeks. The GeneXpert machine first needs to be tested and validated,

  • Taylor council approved a 95% rate cut for businesses Monday, and a tax cut of up to 33% for most other property owners this year. The changes for the 2020 tax year are intended to offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mayor Rob Fraser.

  • The Dinosaur Lake boat launch will open on Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m. Visitors will be able to use the boat launch, restrooms, and day-use area, just in time for the long weekend. 

  • School District 60 has reopened its playgrounds to the public.

  • Fort St. John is getting ready to help businesses and answer questions about their re-opening plans as the provincial economy readies for a reboot next week.

  • May 11 to 17 is Nursing Week. May 12 is also International Nurses Day, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of modern nursing.

  • Transit fare collection is scheduled to resume June 1. Fort St. John fares will remain at $2 for adults, and $1.75 for seniors and students, which have not changed since 2012.

  • Ottawa has pledged to give a one-time, tax-free payment of $300 to eligible seniors through the Old Age Security pension.

  • The reopening or re-imagining of B.C.’s libraries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could take up to two years, but immediate access to services will be phased in with some tweaks to how services have normally been provided.

  • An Alberta business has been charged with marking up pandemic-related items for sale by more than 300 and 400% in some cases.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on questions about B.C.'s opening plans: "As the MLA for Peace River North, I am still looking for a more rural-specific strategy in the recovery plan as our economy and resulting recovery will look very different from downtown Vancouver."

  • The federal government needs stronger measures to deal with a coming influx of people from the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, evidence that Canada is bracing for the challenge of existence next door to the world's largest COVID-19 hotspot.

Here are the latest developments for May 11:

  • As B.C. looks towards a gradual reopening of the economy and social interactions, starting on the upcoming long weekend, the numbers are promising that the rate of transmission continues to fall, though provincial health officer Bonnie Henry warned Monday that “COVID-19 has not gone away.

  • Fort St. John city council approved property tax rates for 2020, approving a bylaw that holds the line on rates at 2019 levels.

  • Fort St. John city council awarded $5 million in contracts to two local companies for road and sewer construction projects this year.

  • WestJet has extended its suspension of flights to Vancouver through to July 4.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 831 workers reported at camp.

  • The federal government is promising to bolster the finances of the country’s largest employers — those with annual revenue of at least $300 million.

  • A federal financing relief package for large Canadian companies was applauded by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government on Monday despite conditions that could link the aid to an individual company's climate change goals.

  • Guest columnist Rob Booker, on Canada's health and economic recovery: "We will collectively benefit by focusing on revitalizing the sometimes remote communities and trade corridors that link Canadian natural resources with global demand."

  • The spring runoff and an "unprecedented" drop in the demand for electricity because of COVID-19 is forcing BC Hydro to shut down some of its operations and spill water from its dams.

  • The Rotary Club of Fort St. John raised an estimated $5,500, and 20 large totes of food and household supplies for the Women’s Resource Society at its drive-thru fundraiser on Mother's Day.

  • The third and final Seniors, We Wish You Well Parade goes Wednesday, May 13. Organizers have decided that this will be the final edition of the parade since restrictions are slowly beginning to lift. 

Here are the latest developments for May 9:

Here are the latest developments for May 8:

  • Northeast B.C. lost 2,500 jobs in April, spiking the regional unemployment rate more than three percentage points to 7.4%.

  • Air Canada has extended its suspension at the Fort St. John airport until June 21.

  • Guest columnist Neil Godbout, on the conspiracy COVID-iots: "In most conspiracy theories, the government is given supernatural powers of planning and persuasion in their bid to seize control of the world. Yet governments small and large around the world prove every day they are incapable of keeping anything secret for long, and require multiple committees, consultants and studies on how to assemble a two-car parade."

Here are the latest developments for May 7:

  • B.C. restaurants are looking at a possible June 1 reopening date, pending approval from WorkSafeBC, said the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.

  • Expect a backlog when barbers, salons, clinics reopen: Hair salons, barber shops and other “personal service” businesses will be allowed to reopen, though they will have to have a plan approved by WorkSafeBC for how they plan to adhere to safety measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 virus.

  • Dental offices will be allowed to re-open to non-emergency care in the coming weeks with enhanced protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Most provincial parks will open for day use only on May 14 and most campgrounds and backcountry camping will open on June 1.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 883 workers reported at camp.

  • Columnist Brad Brain, on your COVID-19 economic recovery toolkit: "Even well-intentioned people who qualify for the programs might become discouraged by the complexity of the language. Take heart though. There are professionals that help you navigate these programs."

  • The federal government has reached an agreement with all the provinces and territories for a wage top-up for essential workers. Details are still be finalized with some of the provinces but it will be up it will be up to those other jurisdictions to determine who will qualify for the pay increase.

Here are the latest developments for May 6:

  • B.C.’s economy will restart in four phases, with the first order of business being the resumption of elective surgeries, personal care services, like dentistry, hair salons, retail and the reopening of provincial parks for day use starting in mid-May.

  • The Ministry of Education will address details of what school openings might look like in coming days, and school districts will have to determine how best to implement policies in their areas.

  • What to know about B.C.'s restart plan: Click here for all the details about the timeline, testing strategies, and public health protocols for businesses, schools, daycares, retailers, and sports.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted B.C.’s health-care system, forcing 16,100 scheduled surgeries to be indefinitely postponed, with an estimated 28,000 to 30,000 postponements expected by the third week of May.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 889 workers reported at camp today.

  • Nav Canada says it will be suspending overnight air navigation services in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.

  • Resource sector reboot is more about markets: Even if the provincial health officer gives resource companies the green light, some face the additional challenge of falling demand for commodities like lumber, copper and metallurgical coal.

  • Columnist Judy Kucharuk, on thieves and Covid-19: "Is it my imagination or have there been fewer reports of vehicle thefts since the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, does that mean that even thieves are concerned for their personal well-being? Or does it simply mean that their order of PPE hasn’t arrived yet?"

Here are the latest developments for May 5:

Here are the latest developments for May 4:

  • There are now 15 laboratory-confirmed cases in B.C. among workers from the Kearl Lake oilsands site near Fort McMurray. An additional eight laboratory-confirmed cases and two presumed cases have been reported among British Columbians who did not travel to Kearl Lake but had contact with a worker.

  • Air Canada has extended its suspension at the Fort St. John airport until May 31.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 827 workers reported at camp today.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed $850 million in international funding to fight a global pandemic, but despite billions in emergency funding announcements in recent weeks blowing a big hole in the federal government’s budget, Trudeau said he will not be doing a budget revision or economic forecast update anytime soon.

  • MP Bob Zimmer, on sneaking in a gun ban during COVID-19: "Instead of pushing forward with his own ideological agenda, the Prime Minister should have waited until this health crisis had passed and introduced legislation in the House of Commons so that it could be properly debated and Canadians’ voices could be heard."

  • Columnists Charo Lloret and Kalpana Loganathan, on keeping calm and dreaming on: "Nobody’s going to steal my dreams away with dreary financial forecasts or the daily recitation of death statistics."

  • Stores envision phased retail reawakening: Even as restrictions ease, businesses are going to have change the way they operate. The changes most obvious to consumers will be those they’ve already seen – social distancing and the transparent barriers at checkouts. 

Here are the latest developments for May 2:

  • Dr Bonnie Henry reported no new test positive cases of COVID-19 in northern B.C. Saturday, but urged those who work at the Kearl Lake oilsands project near Fort McMurray to follow public health orders to stem the spread of the virus in their communities.

  • The Dinosaur Lake boat launch as well as campgrounds at Cameron Lake, King Gething, Alwin Holland, and Dinosaur Lake remain remain closed until further notice.

  • Columnist Kirk LaPointe, on the overdue blueprint for B.C.’s COVID-19 recovery: "Other jurisdictions that started later into COVID-19’s wrath are exiting sooner from the confinement – or if they can’t pinpoint on the calendar when, they at least have a roadmap how. Ours is trickling out like hand santizer from an all-but-empty bottle."

  • The province is counting on its $1.5-billion economic recovery fund to get the province through the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Finance Minister Carole James.

  • The federal government is unlikely to step into provincial jurisdictions to provide rent support for residential renters across the country, despite announcing earlier a similar plan for supporting small-business rent.

  • While Canadians have become accustomed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's daily COVID-19 updates, they seem to be getting fewer and farther between.

  • Four B.C. poultry processing plants have recorded outbreaks of COVID-19.

  • Twelve-year-old Jayden Labelle and his family were out participating in a Easter egg scavenger hunt during Easter weekend, when he had the idea of creating his own

  • B.C. teachers have reached a new collective agreement amid work-from-home orders. It calls for a three-year term with general wage increases of 2% each year, plus the ability to negotiate conditional and modest funding that can be used to drive “tangible service improvements.”

Here are the latest developments for April 30:

  • Rig activity in northeast B.C. has held around 20% during the last month of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Columnist Judy Kucharuk, on cooking up a new recipe for life: "I realize that I have surreptitiously been working my way through the stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Is this bargaining or is this acceptance?"

  • The Hudson’s Hope pool is closed to the public until May 31 to comply with provincial health orders. District staff will continue to prep the pool to bring it online if and when health orders are rescinded. “Bringing the pool online does mean it will be open to the public. It is uncertain whether the District swimming pool will be allowed to open as planned or even at all,” wrote Mayor Dave Heiberg in an update. In the meantime, the pool will be cleaned and inspected, and the heating and chlorine systems will also be tested. Repair and upkeep should take about two weeks. 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on court activities have highlighted the B.C. courts’ deficient technological capabilities, says B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson.

  • Restoring international enrolment is top priority for colleges and universities: students from abroad contribute more than $22 billion to Canada’s economy on an annual basis.

  • There are 2 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 877 workers reported at camp.

  • The second edition of the Seniors We Wish You Well Parade took place April 28, with close to 30 groups of participants riding the short loop around the North Peace Seniors Housing Society.

  • Gyms in town are set to reopen by Monday, May 4.

Here are the latest developments for April 29:

Here are the latest developments for April 28:

  • The province has not ruled out a return to in-class instruction before the end of the regular school year. Education Minister Rob Fleming said the province is planning for a number of scenarios, which includes planning for some level of class instruction.

  • The 2020 golf season is finally here, with new rules and regulations for COVID-19 that all golfers must follow. Farmington Fairways and Lone Wolf Golf Club will open April 29; Fort St. John Links is hoping to open by Monday, May 4. Lakepoint is still wet and it may be a week or two before it opens.

  • The BC Wildfire Service is working with agriculture producers in the Peace region to accommodate the burning of residual crops to prepare for 2020 seeding. A significant number of grain crops in the Peace were not harvested in the fall of 2019 due to excess field moisture and snow.

  • There are 4 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 898 workers reported at camp.

  • Cadets in Fort St. John won't be able to host their annual Mother's Day steak and lobster dinner and dance this year, but they're still raising money to keep the youth program funded.

  • Some B.C. megaprojects don’t need to restart because they never stopped; like all other business in B.C., they are just waiting for the green light from the provincial health officer so they can gradually start bringing workers back to make up for some lost time.

  • Canada must have enough capacity to sufficiently test for and trace cases of COVID-19 before the economy can reopen, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

  • Fort St. John caremonger Moriah Davidson delivered more than three dozen handmade masks each to the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society and Salvation Army last week.

  • The second Seniors We Wish You Well Parade goes Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Here are the latest developments for April 27:

Here are the latest developments for April 24:

  • The Fort St John Hospital Foundation says that $63,000 has been donated or pledged to date in support of its greatest need fund for COVID-19. Related needs include six additional IV pumps that cost $6,000 each, and the replacement of cardiac defibrillators and monitors that cost $40,000, as two are nearing end of life.

  • Fort St. John family doctors are reminding residents to keep on top of their health and in touch with their physician during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially if they have a chronic condition.

  • Columnists Charo Lloret and Kalpana Loganathan, on dreaming of a better future after the pandemic: "We can feed ourselves and others with optimism, and creative fresh ideas to help Humankind to grow up and come out of this pandemic in full bloom, ready to implement new approaches to life."

  • Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, which will lower rent payments by 75% for small businesses. It is expected to be operational by mid-May.

  • B.C. Finance Minister Carole James says the commercial rent funding will take the form of forgivable loans given to landlords to cover 50% of an eligible small-business tenant’s rent. If the landlord is then able to lower the tenants’ rents by 75% or more, the loan will be forgiven.

  • B.C. tree planting companies are now required to implement plans to fight the spread of the pandemic at work camps, including field camps and hotel accommodations.

  • The province has added hunting and angling to its list of essential services. With this listing comes great responsibility and a degree of scrutiny; as responsible citizens and conservationists, we need to ensure these activities are conducted within the guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Officer,” said Bill Bosch, President of the BC Wildlife Federation.

  • There are 6 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 966 workers reported at camp.

Here are the latest developments for April 23:

Here are the latest developments for April 22:

Here are the latest developments for April 21:

  • MLA Dan Davies says he will be offering hand sanitizer refills to the public at his office in Fort St. John on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Three regional parks with overnight camping facilities, as well as one community park, are being closed this week until further notice.

  • Direct flights between Fort St. John and Vancouver through WestJet are not scheduled to resume until at least June 5. The lone flight to Calgary will be reduced through May.

  • The federal government is earmarking $350 million for the country’s vulnerable populations as they deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prime minister pointed to organizations such as United Way, Community Foundations of Canada and the Red Cross Canada as soon-to-be recipients of the funding.

  • Stronger and more stable natural gas prices in the wake of North American oil production cuts are offering hope for better times to some gas producers.

  • There are 7 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 964 workers reported at camp.

  • MLA Dan Davies on shopping local and supporting local during the pandemic: "The North is a great place to be. Our small businesses are not only critical to our economy, but our identity and community spirit."

  • From the mailbag, on the upcoming Day of Mourning on April 28: "Last year, 140 workers in B.C. lost their lives to workplace injury or disease. Let’s honour them safely, wherever we may be, with a minute or two of silence, and at least two metres apart," writes Al Phillips.

  • In case you missed it, there's still been plenty of good news in our community during these hard and uncertain times. Click here to catch up

Here are the latest developments for April 20:

Here are the latest developments for April 18:

Here are the latest developments for April 17:

  • B.C. won’t be lifting COVID-19-related restrictions any time soon in order to continue flattening the infection rate curve, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. If the province were to return to 80% to 100% of regular human contact, B.C. would see a huge surge in critical care patient numbers between April 20 and May 20, she says.

  • The federal government has announced new rules requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel.

  • Peace Island Park has been closed until further notice. The closure includes all trails, camping, and day use areas. The ball diamonds in Taylor are also closed, as is all playground equipment.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.7 billion investment to clean up orphaned oil wells in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Alberta's Orphan Well Association lists 11,329 wells, pipelines, facilities and sites in its care as of April 15. Between them, B.C. and Saskatchewan have another 1,300. The $1.7 billion would average out to about $135,000 per site.

  • In case you missed it, there's still been plenty of good news in our community during these hard and uncertain times. The last month has seen residents step up to help others through the coronavirus pandemic, Good Samaritans make lifesaving roadside rescues, and our student athletes sign college deals and be recognized for their acts of charity.

  • More good news is that the number of recoveries continues to far surpass the number of people in hospital, and even those who have not recovered.

  • From the mailbag, regarding pandemic outings: "With the high fire hazard, campfire smoke alerted us to a recreational party just below the house last night," writes Ross Peck in Farrell Creek.

  • The provincial government has launched a new mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students. Here2Talk,offers confidential, free single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • More than 57,000 residential customers have applied for a break on their bills since BC Hydro began accepting applications for it COVID-19 Relief Fund, the utility said Thursday.

  • There are 11 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 970 workers reported at camp.

Here are the latest developments for April 16:

Here are the latest developments for April 15:

  • B.C. continues to flatten the COVID-19 curve. The number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations has been rangebound since April 8.

  • The only commercial flight out of Fort St. John is now a lone daily WestJet flight to Calgary. The flight is scheduled six days a week Sunday through Fridays. Some flight days however have been cancelled due to a lack of demand.

  • BC Hydro says its burn program for Site C is expected to finish today, one day before expanded restrictions go into force throughout B.C.

  • The Northern Health region is getting significant donations to help it cope with COVID-19, thanks to LNG development in B.C.

  • The province has extended its state of emergency for an additional two weeks. This Friday, the province will provide more information on its COVID-19 modelling. “I believe people have genuine cause for celebration,” he said, adding that the work is not yet done.

  • Fort St. John churches celebrated Easter weekend as they normally would, but with a virtual twist: “Would you take the place of someone so they wouldn’t have to suffer from COVID-19?” asked Caleb Salmond, pastor of connections at Fort St. John Alliance Church.

  • A Fort St. John photographer is collecting front porch portraits of families in exchange for food donations for the Women’s Resource Society.

  • The federal government is expanding the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit to help those previously not eligible, and will soon offer some essential workers a top up, most notably those in care centres.

  • There were 8 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 979 workers reported at the camp.

  • The first two races of the 2020 Peace Motocross Association season have been suspended, including the May 10 Mother's Day Race in Taylor, and the May 23 event in Fort St. John.

  • Sports reporter Dillon Giancola on the return of sports: "When I was first getting used to the idea of having no sports for a time, I did so by convincing myself that most leagues would be back by mid-April. Now that we’re in mid-April, I realize how silly that was, but it doesn’t matter because it helped me to adapt."

  • Daily new COVID-19 cases continue to fall in B.C., but an outbreak at a federal prison in Mission has prompted provincial health officials to redeploy a mobile hospital from the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver to Abbotsford.

Here are the latest developments for April 14:

  • City parks and trails are being monitored for social distancing, but there’s no plan to close them yet.

  • There were 8 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 997 workers reported at the camp.

  • For natural gas producers in B.C., the biggest concern now isn’t necessarily the impact of the COVID-19 and low oil prices on natural gas. A bigger concern is the effect on natural gas liquids, like propane and condensate.

  • Friends and family of Adaura Cayford are putting together a pen pal campaign this week to bring her cheer as she continues her fight with cancer. Starting on April 15, residents can drop off cards and letters in a bin outside the Canadian Grind coffee shop. They will be held in quarantine until they are safe to deliver.

  • Columnist Evan Saugstad on privacy laws and public health: "Why can’t we hear about cases in our community? What are they hiding? Can we really trust our health professionals if they do not give us the whole and complete story?"

  • The federal government is taking a cue from B.C. and requiring all travellers entering its borders to have a quarantine plan in place.

  • Columnists Rick Koechl & Mike Kroecher on whether coronavirus concerns can be contained at Site C: "We need to give our humblest gratitude and support to each and every caregiver, emergency responder, and essential worker, not additional worries."

Here are the latest developments for April 13:

Here are the latest developments for April 11:

Here are the latest developments for April 10:

Here are the latest developments for April 9:

Here are the latest developments for April 8:

Here are the latest developments for April 7:

Here are the latest developments for April 6:

  • Fort St. John city council voted Monday to rescind this year's water rate increases, and waive late payment penalties on utility bills to help residents through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Truckers looking for a bathroom pit stop and a fresh cup of coffee on their way through Fort St. John during the COVID-19 pandemic can find more than a dozen businesses open to them along the Alaska Highway.

  • There were 10 Site C workers in self-isolation quarantine, and 969 workers reported at the camp.

  • Despite some promising signs that new cases of COVID-19 may be slowing, Henry warned that current restrictions on social activities, work and movement must be maintained.

  • The Yukon government says officers were stationed on Monday at five checkpoints from British Columbia and one from the Northwest Territories.

  • New infections and deaths continued to be reported across Canada on Monday, with 16,500 total cases and 321 deaths reported by the afternoon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can still expect weeks or months of distancing measures.

  • The federal government will soon change rules to let hundreds of thousands hard-hit workers access pandemic-related emergency relief, as federal systems began processing about 1,000 applications a minute for the new benefit.

  • Fort St. John Rotarians will hold a drive-by food drive for the Salvation Army on April 11 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the back of the Safeway parking lot. There will be trucks with bins, and residents will be able to pull up and drop their donations into the bins with no contact. 

  • Good Friday is April 10, Easter Sunday is April 12 — and Fort St. John churches have adapted on the fly to ensure thay they can still deliver Easter services. Check out our Fort St. John guide to a virtual Easter.

  • The Government of Canada has launched the application portal for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. MP Bob Zimmer gives readers and residents a primer on how to access this benefit.

Here are the latest developments for April 4:

Here are the latest developments for April 3:

Here are the latest developments for April 2:

Here are the latest developments for April 1:

  • A worker at the LNG Canada site has tested positive for COVID-19, the company has confirmed. The company notified workers in a March 28 letter, saying the individual returned to their home in the region to self-isolate upon experiencing mild symptoms a week earlier.

  • Three more Site C workers have gone into quarantine, bringing the total to 7 of 935 workers now reported at the camp.

  • Air Canada will suspend all operations in Fort St. John after today. The temporary suspension will last from April 2 until April 30.

  • MP Bob Zimmer says he will be donating an automatic and legislated increase in his salary to a local church.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic will require intensive care units and ventilators in the province’s hospitals, but an investigation has found that British Columbians are receiving unclear or inadequate information to let them know the local availability of those resources.

  • The province is rolling out BC Hydro bill relief to residents, small businesses and large industrial operations. Residential customers will be eligible for a three-month credit; Small businesses that have closed their doors will not have to pay their hydro bills starting today through to the end of June; Large industrial customers will have the option to defer 50% of their bills over the next three months.

  • The province is allocating $5 million to help sports organizations struggling at this time. 

  • Wildfire season begins today, and the BC Wildfire Service is developing protocols to deal with COVID-19 while prepping for the upcoming season.

  • The Ministry of Education has struck a deal with the Zoom videoconferencing company to enable teachers to communicate remotely with their students while in-class learning is suspended.

  • Unemployed during COVID-19? Here's how to navigate federal programs.

  • MLA Dan Davies has put together this list of some available supports and needs.

Here are the latest developments for March 31:

Here are the latest developments for March 30:

Here are the latest developments for March 28:

  • Fort St. John city council will consider Monday a range of relief measures proposed for residents and businesses. Chief among them are cancelling the approved 1.25% tax rate hike, and deferring tax and utility payments and waiving late fees.

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry reported Saturday no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health region, but there are two patients currently hospitalized.

  • Northern Health's capacity to treat patients will peter out more quickly than elsewhere in B.C. if the pandemic reaches the levels seen in the harder-hit regions of the world.

  • Former Northern Health Chief Medical Officer David Bowering has written this open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry calling for the release of COVID-19 case locations and the shut down of industrial work camps: "Telling Northerners that we have 12 positive tests from our region (as of today) without providing the location or putative source is to tell them (us) nothing. This is dangerous."

  • Fort St. John city council will vote Monday whether to move to weekly garbage collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are concerns the city's recycling stream may become even more contaminated with garbage.

  • As of noon Monday, boarding of domestic flights and trains will be denied to people showing any symptoms related to COVID-19.

Here are the latest developments for March 27:

  • B.C.'s provincial health officer say she sees glimmers of hope in bending the COVID-19 curve downward but says it won't go down for a while yet. And all it would take is for one church group that flouted prohibitions on large gatherings, one plane returning from abroad with an infected person or one remote work camp with an infection outbreak to have seed the virus somewhere, where it could explode.

  • The University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George is one of 17 hospitals in B.C. that have been designated as primary COVID-19 sites, which would be the first tasked with taking care of coronavirus patients in the event that the number of cases surges.

  • The B.C. government has released this update on the province's latest epidemiological modelling of COVID-19 and its hospital mobilization plan.

  • School District 60 has released its Continuity of Learning Information for Families.

  • As of March 27, there were still 12 Site C workers in self-isolation at the work camp, and zero confirmed cases. There were 13 fewer workers staying in camp, down to 851.

  • Fort St. John doctors and nurses who will be on the front lines treating local patients with the coronavirus disease COVID-19 are being fitted for face masks to ensure they don't contract the virus.

  • The Halfway River First Nation has entered a full lock down, citing the high risk of COVID-19 "spreading like wildfire."

  • It's too early to say how Fort St. John will deploy its bylaw officers in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. But if you're still planning to hold that wedding, or just got back from the tropics and aren't staying at home in quarantine, officers may soon be tracking you down.

  • B.C. released a list of essential services on Thursday, with many delivery services on the list. “The need for our work is high, and it’s great to be able to work in this time, but it’s hard to keep staff willing to work,” said Paul Sheikh, who runs Time Courier Services.

  • The federal government is upping its proposed wage subsidy for businesses to 75%. A broad swath of business and labour groups had criticized the original proposal of a 10% subsidy for falling well short of what was needed to avoid mass layoffs.

  • Here is a detailed list of emergency benefits available to those who have been affected by COVID-19, and how to access them.

Here are the latest developments for March 26:

  • The Halfway River First Nation has entered a full lock down. Residents will only be allowed to leave the community for health reasons, and those who otherwise disobey will not be allowed to re-enter unless agreeing to mandatory 14 days of self-isolation.

  • Fort St. John has opened its emergency operations centre, and city councillors will meet weekly through April and the COVID-19 pandemic. All city buildings are now closed to the public, and city services still continue.

  • As of March 26, there were still 12 Site C workers in self-isolation at the work camp, and zero confirmed cases. There were 11 fewer workers staying in camp, down to 864.

  • The province has suspended all local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, and announced sweeping measures Thursday to prevent the hoarding and resale of food items and medical goods effective immediately.

  • B.C. has released a list of essential services.

  • The province has placed open burning restrictions in some areas of northeast B.C. to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, but controlled burns for Site C will continue.

  • Confusion reigns over what makes a homeowner eligible for an emergency mortgage deferral, how the program works, whether interest is payable and whether deferring payments will affect credit scores. Here's what you need to know about deferring mortgage payments.

  • The coronavirus couldn’t cancel birthday celebrations for Seth Ryan of Fort St. John on Wednesday. He couldn't have a party, family and friends gave him a parade instead.

  • Local gyms dealing with the pandemic in different ways. Some are closed, some are still open.

Here are the latest developments for March 25:

Here are the latest developments for March 24:

  • The B.C. border with the Northwest Territories is now closed after the territories reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 21. The border closed as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, and only emergency and enforcement vehicles can cross.

  • The City of Fort St. John has declared a state of local emergency: "These are unprecedented times as we find ourselves with limited tools at our disposal to be nimble and respond to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis," Mayor Lori Ackerman said.

  • The eighth season of Big Brother Canada has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rianne Swanson, 29, an operating room nurse from Chetwynd, was still active on the show prior to the airing of Wednesday's episode.

  • The operator of a work lodge north of Fort McMurray says a guest who fell ill last week does not have COVID-19.

  • Six municipalities in the Alberta Peace say the biggest COVID-19 risk facing the region is the return of travellers from outside Canada. There are currently 20 confirmed cases in Alberta's northern health zone, with the third confirmed case in the Grande Prairie region reported today.

  • The Fort St. John Hospital Foundation has postponed this year's Bluey Day fundraiser, and is encouraging folks to take part in online fundraising for local cancer supports and services.

  • Construction of Woodfibre LNG has been delayedThis is in part due to work stoppages caused by COVID-19, including the shut down of a fabrication yard in China that was making product for the facility in Squamish.

  • BC Hydro has now begun reporting daily updates on COVID-19 at Site C. As of March 24, there were 12 workers in self-isolation at the work camp, and zero confirmed cases.

  • Tighter restrictions are being put in place at the Fort St. John Hospital. The Birthing Centre and Peace Villa are both now locked 24-7, with restricted visits only. Doors to the ER will be locked overnight, while the hospital's main doors will be locked on weekends. All visitors will be required to meet with screeners at the door.

  • The City of Fort St. John will consider declaring a state of local emergency today. Chief among the city's concerns are the Site C work camp, where there are currently 16 workers in self-isolation with flu-like symptoms, and concern about the potential for sick workers to be moved into town.

  • MP Bob Zimmer has typed up this helpful FAQ for residents looking for resources.

Here are the latest developments for March 23:

  • More than 400 people in northern B.C. have been tested for COVID-19 since March 13, Northern Health says. The health authority says more than 400 test swabs from residents taken between March 13 to 21 were sent to provincial labs for testing.

  • BC Hydro says it will begin giving regular updates to the public and the Peace River Regional District about its monitoring for COVID-19 at Site C. There have been 700 workers home since a scale-back in construction was announced March 18, and more workers are expected to be sent home this week. There were 940 people in camp on March 23.

  • Premier John Horgan revealed a $5 billion action plan to help British Columbians survive the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Horgan said $2.8 billion will be spent on people and services, with the remaining $2.2 billion targeted towards businesses.

  • Dr Carolyn Jones has written this open letter on behalf of the Medical Staff Association, Fort St John Hospital and Hudsons Hope Medical Centre: "Stay home unless absolutely necessary. No dinner parties. No shopping. No sports, not even outside. Instead, have coffee with a friend online."

  • MP Bob Zimmer won't be in Ottawa when the House of Commons meets March 24 to introduce urgent economic measures as part of an $82-billion response to support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be 32 MPs in the chamber to follow public health guidelines about social distancing, and split among the parties based on the number of seats they hold.

  • A Lower Mainland man who travelled through the Vancouver and Prince George airports multiple times believes he may have exposed area residents to COVID-19.

  • WestJet says it will fly once daily from Fort St. John to Vancouver, and twice daily to Calgary, from March 22 to April 21. 

  • Central Mountain Air says it is suspending all scheduled flights on Tuesdays and from Friday to Sunday, effective March 28. In Fort St. John, the airline will fly to Prince George at 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

  • Air Canada has not announced any route suspensions for Fort St. John.

  • Performing Arts BC has cancelled its 2020 provincials. The Peace River North Festival Association says it will have more information on the festival in Fort St. John in the coming days.

  • Have concerns about COVID-19 and your pet? Dogs and cats can potentially be fomites for the virus. What on Earth is a fomite? Dr. Sydney Routley explains.

  • WorkBC Northeast says it will continue services virtually, either by phone, text, or email. There is no service disruption and the full range of services and supports are still being provided, it said.

  • The province says it is keeping Service BC centres open. Core programs and services that will continue to be available include: Income assistance and disability assistance; Residential tenancy; BC Services Card; Drivers' licensing; Affordable Child Care Benefit; Medical Services Plan; and Forest-worker support programs

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pointing to an impending bailout package as a way to help renters, though new research suggests hundreds of thousands of households may be in dire financial straits before the federal money arrives.

Here are the latest developments for March 22:

  • While the new COVID-19 guidelines allow construction to continue, they could make it more difficult for major projects like the Site C dam and LNG Canada projects to comply, given the sheer number of the work forces.

  • Sixteen Site C workers are in quarantine with flu-like symptoms. The workers are staying in a 30-room dormitory, with four addional similar-sized dorms available for workers who need to isolate themselves from others.

  • The B.C.-Northwest Territories border is now closed after the territories reported its first case on March 21. The patient travelled to B.C. and Alberta, and developed mild symptoms three days after returning to Yellowknife.

  • The Fort St. John Farmers Market says it is working with health officials to open this season as a safe access point for fresh food.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked for the House of Commons to return sitting March 24 to introduce urgent economic measures as part of his government’s $82-billion response to support Canadians. 

Here are the latest developements for March 21:

  • Airlines are beginning to cancel flights to Fort St. John. Airport officials say they anticipate more to come.

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain on coronavirus and your investments: "If you have a long-term time frame, and you own high quality investments, then this is not a time to panic or mourn. This is a time of potential opportunity."

  • The Liard Hot Springs are closed to ensure public health and safety.

  • No one living in BC Housing buildings will be evicted because they can’t pay rent. The province is also working on a moratorium on evictions for renters who aren’t in social housing.

  • BC Bus North is still rolling along northern B.C. highways but measures have been put in place. Those include additional disinfecting of buses and facilities, the use of commercial-grade sterilization foggers on the overnight cleaning of the buses, and commercial-grade air purifiers at all ticket offices.

Here are the latest developments for March 20:

  • Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Grande Prairie. There are now 17 confirmed cases in Alberta's northern health zone, including four in the High Prairie area and three in the Slave Lake area.

  • An incorrect social media remark by MP Bob Zimmer sent the District of Tumbler Ridge's rumour mill cranking - but District of Tumbler and Northern Health officials note there is no positive case of COVID-19 in the district at this time.

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry says all restaurants must move to takeout and delivery only.

  • The PRRD offices are now closed to the public, including its offices in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, as well as the Charlie Lake Fire Hall and warehouse.

  • Gun and ammunition sales are up this week in Fort St. John and across the country. 

  • All courts in northern B.C. will be suspended effective March 25. Prince George provincial court will act as a "hub court" and Hearings will be limited to criminal matters involving in-custody accused and urgent family, child custody, and civil matters.

  • Regarding rent payments: Li-Car says rent is still expected for now, but may change. Office hours are restricted, and tenants are asked to pay by mail or money order. Sterling Management says rent are still due. The office closed March 20, but tenants can pay by mail, money order, or use the office's mail slot. Other companies could not be immediately reached.

  • Families and residents all around town have begun placing craft hearts in their windows in a show of community support and unity. 

  • Northern Health is restricting eligibility for passengers using the Northern Health Connections bus service starting March 29.

  • The province says provincial parks remain open, but services and facilities are suspended for most parks, including all those in the Peace region. Campgrounds will be closed at least until April 30.

  • BC Transit says it will suspend bus fares for 30 days as part of its response to COVID-19.

  • The District of Taylor says council meetings will proceed as planned, and front counter services are open. Social distancing is in place. District council will be reviewing the budget in the coming weeks, and seeing how it can reduce costs and lower the tax load for residents.

  • In Hudson's Hope, the District Office is closed for two weeks; RCMP front desk is closed; the Library is closed for two weeks; the Museum is closed for two weeks; and the Community market is cancelled until next month

  • The PRRD has closed all community facilities to the public.

Public Health

  • An incorrect social media remark by MP Bob Zimmer sent the District of Tumbler Ridge's rumour mill cranking - but District of Tumbler and Northern Health officials note there is no positive case of COVID-19 in the district at this time.

  • Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman is returned home Thursday from a vacation to Mexico, and will spend the next two weeks in isolation.

  • Passengers on a WestJet flight to Grande Prairie on March 12 may have been at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Click here to see if you were on any of the at-risk flights.

  • The Fort St. John Alliance Church says a family that attended its church service on Sunday has since gone into self-isolation. The family attended the first service on March 15, and "is exhibiting symptoms that could indicate COVID 19 and additional symptoms that could indicate the flu. These are not confirmed cases."

  • Accent Dental says all appointments are cancelled until further notice. The dental clinic says six employees including all dentists were at the Pacific Dental Conference on March 7, and has been instructed by the Minister of Health to immediately self-isolate until March 21. Dr. Henry Ma attended the conference last week and is unable to perform any emergency dental treatment until at least then. Those with pain are advised to call the clinic or visit the ER.

  • The College of Dental Hygienists of BC says all elective and non-essential dental hygiene services are to be suspended immediately. The FSJ Dental Clinic is closed until March 23; Alaska Avenue Dental is only taking emergencies; North Peace Dental is closed until March 30; and Blooming Smiles Dental Hygiene has been closed since last week and will be until March 30. Northern Lights Dental is closed until March 25.  

  • Northern Health has placed visitor restrictions at its facilities and outpatient clinics. Hospitals will undertake only urgent and emergency procedures and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries.

  • The Fort St John Hospital Foundation office is closed, and can still be reached by phone 250.793.0998, or email fsjhf@northernhealth.ca.

  • The Ministry of Health has launched an online self-assessment tool to help residents determine whether they may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

  • Northern Health has launched a public information phone line to answer questions and concerns about COVID-19 from northern B.C. residents. The health authority says it hopes to reduce demand on ERs and other health services, and says the service will be staffed by doctors and nurses who can provide virtual screening and assessments: 1-844-645-7811.

  • The Fort St. John Medical Clinic and the North Peace Primary Clinic have requested patients who have recently travelled outside of Canada or who are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath) to not come directly into the clinics. Those patients are advised to phone directly for information about seeing their doctor.

Schools

  • All K-12 classes have been suspended until further notice. School District 60 says it is finalizing plans to ensure student learning continues this spring after the province suspended in-class instruction for K-12 students. Superintendent Stephen Petrucci says full details will be released next week.

  •  Education Rob Fleming says all students will receive final marks, and every student eligible to graduate Grade 12 this year will graduate.

  • Northern Lights College says it is not aware of a single case of COVID-19 affecting the college, and will move as much programming to online delivery as possible.

  • The University of Northern BC says the last day of face-to-face classes will be March 18. The semester of studies and exams will still be completed, the university said.

  • The Northern B.C. Regional Science Fair scheduled April 7 at North Peace Secondary has been cancelled. "We understand all of the work that has been put into preparing for the fair by the students, sponsor teachers, mentors, parents and the committee, but prefer to err on the side of caution in regards to everyone's health," organizers said. All registration fees that have been paid to date will be returned.

  • The school district has asked all students to report any international travel over the spring break and to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to Canada. All school district field trips to Europe have been postponed, and there will be no travel to countries with a Level 2 or 3 public health travel risk.

  • One North Peace Secondary student was tested for the virus after returning from a field trip to Japan. Results were negative.

City & Region

  • BC Transit says it will suspend bus fares for 30 days as part of its response to COVID-19.

  • In Hudson's Hope, the District Office is closed for two weeks; RCMP front desk is closed; the Library is closed for two weeks; the Museum is closed for two weeks; and the Community market is cancelled until next month

  • The City of Fort St. John says the March 23 council meeting will proceed as planned, though some measures are being taken to limit public attendance amid COVID-19 health orders. The agenda includes borrowing authorization for the estimated $51.4-million new RCMP detachment, tender awards for the first phase of the Woodlawn Cemetery expansion, and the rescheduling of this year's Community Awards.

  • The District of Taylor says council meetings will proceed as planned, and front counter services are open. Social distancing is in place. District council will be reviewing the budget in the coming weeks, and seeing how it can reduce costs and lower the tax load for residents.

  • The PRRD has closed all community facilities to the public.

  • The Taylor library is closed effectively immediately March 19.

  • Peace Island Park says it is delaying its opening until May 31.

  • Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman returned home Thursday from a vacation to Mexico, and will spend the next two weeks in isolation.

  • All Fort St. John recreation facilities are closed effective March 18. These closures affect the Pomeroy Sport Centre, including Visitor Centre, North Peace Arena, Kids Arena Fieldhouse and the previously announced closure of the North Peace Leisure Pool.

  • All District of Taylor recreation facilities are closed effective March 17. These closures include the Taylor Curling Rink, the Taylor Arena, and the Taylor Community Hall. The District is looking at options to keep the Lone Wolf Golf Club and Peace Island Park operational in the summer.

  • Mayor Lori Ackerman has released an update on the first of regular calls with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry: "Because these cases did NOT originate within any northern community itself, under the law, Northern Health won't identify or release the location of these individuals for their privacy/protection as they are technically not a threat to public health, and to not incite panic / speculation / rumors in any one community."

  • The Peace River Regional District has cancelled the Rural Area Budgets Committee meeting scheduled March 19, and the Area B Roundtable Meeting scheduled April 6 in Buick. A number of other meetings in Moberly Lake, McLeod, Farmington, and Tomslake have also been cancelled.

  • The Fort St. John RCMP has suspended front counter services, including police information checks and civil fingerprinting; the Fort St. John fire department has suspended in-person services and on-site fire inspections.

  • The North Peace Cultural Centre says it will close effective March 18. This includes its childcare programs. "As a public space, it is our responsibility to try to protect our community as best as we can," Executive Director Baptiste Marcere said. "I fully understand that this decision will impact families, however, since kids are mostly asymptomatic, closing the preschool and out of school care is the best solution to protect our community."

  • The City says Bouncing Beans and Tumble Time at the Kids Fieldhouse have been cancelled indefinitely. Spring Break Camp, scheduled to run March 23 - 27, has been cancelled.

  • The Fort St. John Public Library says it is closed effective immediately. The closure will last until at least March 31. Due dates have been extended until May 1 and no late fees will accrue.

  • The North Peace Leisure Pool is closed and all programs and swimming lessons have been cancelled.

  • The District of Taylor says children with symptoms of undiagnosed pain, acute cold or fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing may not attend its Spring Break camp March 16 to 20.

Community/Services

  • The North Peace Pregnancy Care Clinic is closed to public, but residents can still call its 24-hour hotline for assistance: 250-262-1280.

  • Demand is rising but donations are falling as the Salvation Army food bank braces for the local fallout from COVID-19.

  • The North Peace Housting Society says outside visitors, other than family, close friends, and support workers, are not to enter its buildings. All social activities, including carolling, hairdressing, and the income tax clinic are cancelled. "Even though the COVID-19 threat remains low in this area, we are trying to keep our seniors healthy by limiting exposure to all pathogens," the Society said. Increased measures are in place throughout the buildings and kitchen to ensure products and protocols dealing with the prevention of infectious disease are followed. "This will enable them to better fight any illness that may pose a threat in the future."

  • The Salvation Army thrift store will be closed to the public for at least two weeks. Donations are still being accepted at the back door. Those experiencing crisis will still have access to the store during a Family Services appointment.

  • The Salvation Army food bank is distributing pre-made food bags based on family size. No drop-in seating or food consumption onsite. The Community Meal at The Northern Centre of Hope will be converting to bagged lunches to-go starting March 18. Community Drop-in is closed at The Northern Centre of Hope. Registered guests of the Emergency Shelter will not be impacted by any change.

  • A new group called Caremongering Fort St. John has launched on Facebook. The group is a landing page for people in need during the crisis and for people looking to give a helping hand. "If anything this virus as much as it will distance us physically should be bringing us together morally and spiritually," organizers say.

  • Canada Post remains open, but is advising those with symptoms to stay home.

  • B.C. is reducing all court operations to help stop the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Some criminal and family case matters were already being adjourned in Fort St. John courts Monday morning. It’s expected more matters will be adjourned. Jury selection has also been cancelled everywhere in B.C. until the end of May.

  • The Women's Resource Society allowing just five people in its building at a time, and there will be no drop-in after 12 p.m. The society will be open between 12 to 3 for drop-offs and appointments only.

  • The North Peace Child Care Resource & Referral has cancelled all programming and put a freeze on its toy lending library until April 5. That includes the March 20 and April 3 Play Days, March 26 Storytelling, and positive discipline courses from March 31 to May 12. 

  • MP Bob Zimmer says he will limit travel and remain in the riding after the House of Commons decided to shut down for five weeks to ensure MPs do not contribute to the spread.

  • B.C.'s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is asking residents to take extra care for the elderly amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Mackenzie says that while most who will contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, it can more seriously affect the elderly. Mackenzie is also asking the public to contact their elderly friends, family, and neighbours who might need some extra help. "It could be anything from helping a senior get some groceries, taking out their garbage, bringing over a cooked meal or bringing them up to speed on the latest COVID-19 recommendations from our provincial health officer," she said.

Business

  • Wet’suwet’en title agreement meetings may be postponed due to COVID-19 prevention measures and a recent death within the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

  • Shoppers Drug Mart is dedicating its first shopping hour to those most at risk. All Shoppers stores will designate the first hour of shopping to “those who need assistance or consideration" starting this week. This includes seniors, individuals with underlying health conditions and people living with disabilities.

  • No Frills says it will open one hour earlier every Tuesday and Thursday to allow seniors and people living with disabilities to do their shopping, effective March 19.

  • LNG Canada is scaling back its workforce in Kitimat by half, the Northern Sentinel reports. The company had already been restricting international travel for staff and contractors, and says it will now be reducing the number of fly-in rotational workers. Seasonal work will continue under additional precautions, but the company says it will cut the workforce further if necessary.

  • The movie theatre is closed. Landmark Cinemas says it is closing all its theatres until further notice. The theatre's last showtime Monday in Fort St. John was Vin Diesel's latest, Bloodshot.

  • The province says the March 18 oil and gas land sale is postponed until April 22 due to travel restrictions affecting bid delivery. The province says it is evaluating whether it will postpone future sale dates as well as alternatives options for bid delivery.

  • The Fort St. John Chamber has cancelled all events effective immediately and until further notice. That includes its planned business roundtable meetings to assess the local economic impacts of COVID-19. Contact the Chamber for more details about any refunds.

  • The Fort St. John Trade Show has been postponed. A new date is being scheduled for the fall.

Site C

  • BC Hydro says it is scaling down construction at Site C. Work to achieve river diversion this fall remains a priority, BC Hydro said. Work will also continue on Highway 29 realignments, transmission line construction, and reservoir clearing.

  • There have been no confirmed cases at the work camp or construction site. 

  • BC Hydro says it has been monitoring global COVID-19 developments since January, and measures are in place to limit its potential spread at the construction site and work camp.

  • That includes restrictions on non-essential employee travel and the postponement of non-essential site tours, meetings, and on-site training. The camp gymnasium and theatre have also been closed, and self-serve dining stations have been eliminated. 

  • The BC Building Trades Council is calling for work to be scaled down at major construction projects in the province, including Site C.

Arts & Culture

  • The museum is closed to the public effective immediately March 19 and until further notice. "We will be working hard from home to catalogue artefacts; apply for grants; develop future events, exhibits, and programs; and share our history through social media (including some exciting new initiatives during this time of social distancing)." The museum can still be reached by phone or email.

  • The NPCC says its Bright Nights in June event scheduled for June 12 to 14 will be rescheduled to later in the summer if needed. "We are looking forward to seeing our community celebrate together again!"

  • . Tickets will be refunded and we will look to bring Minglewood to Fort St. John later this year.

  • All events scheduled at the Lido have been postponed until after Easter, including the Alaska Highway News concert with the Matt Minglewood band on April 1. Contact the Lido for refunds.

  • Peace Gallery North has postponed its April 3 opening of Frances Obie's exhibit, "Sky High". 

  • The Fort St. John Professional Fire Fighters Association says it is putting its Annual Charity Ball on hold. "We are still a ways out from the original date of May 2 and we hope the situation will change but time will tell," the Association said. A final decision will be made by April 2.

  • The North Peace Cultural Centre has cancelled the Stage North production of "Tough" (March 26 to 28), as well as the April 9 travelling production of "Spidey". The centre says it is taking extra measures to sanitize and disinfect its facility, including its out-of-school and preschool classrooms. 

  • Naomi Shore has cancelled her Western Canadian Tour, calling it the responsible thing to do. Shore was to hit the road for three weeks starting with a show in Valleyview on March 20, and with stops in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Calgary, among others.

  • The Peace River North Performing Arts Festival scheduled for April 18 to 26 is to go as planned. However, organizers say there may be restrictions, and the festival will take steps to comply with any provincial advisories and procedures in place at that time.

  • The Encana Events Centre has cancelled or postponed all gatherings until further notice. 

Sports & Rec

  • The Fort St. John Curling Club has cancelled this week's scheduled curling nights and is closing for the season. The club was set to have the men's league windup on Wednesday, March 18, and the mixed league windup on Thursday, March 19. Non-curling related events in the building that have been cancelled for March and April will be rescheduled for a later date. 

  • The Fort St. John Petroleum Association has cancelled this year's Oilmen's Hockey Tournament scheduled for April 1 to 4. Fees and donations will be refunded. "We want to thank all of the members and sponsors for their continued support," the Association said.

  • Fort St. John Lacrosse announced it will be keeping registration for the 2020 season open until March 31, and are pushing the start of the season back to April 7. Team practices were initially set to start March 31. There will be no late registration fees, and full refunds will be given if the association is unable to go ahead with a season.

  • The Fort St. John Slow Pitch Society has postponed its AGM scheduled for March 16. The current executive will remain in their roles until the meeting can be rescheduled and an election for the 2020 executive can take place.

  • The North West Junior Hockey League finals are cancelled. The Fort St. John Huskies were set to face off March 13 against the North Peace Navigators, and were the odds-on favourites to win their third-straight championship. The Huskies had their best season in 20 years in 2019-20.

  • The North Peace Hockey League Finals between the Dawson Creek Canucks and the Grande Prairie Athletics has been postponed, with hopes to reschedule in April. Dawson Creek leads the series 3-2.

  • Hockey Canada and B.C. Hockey have cancelled all remaining provincial hockey championships, including the Midget AA championships where the NEBC Trackers were set to defend their provincial title on March 16, as well as the Bantam and Midget Girls AA Championships (the Northeast B.C. Predators were set to compete in these tournaments).

  • The Fort St. John Minor Hockey Association has closed operations for the year. The annual awards ceremony, scheduled for April 8, has been cancelled as well.

  • All of the remaining Alberta Soccer Provincial Championship Tournaments, including those that the Northern Strikers teams were set to compete in this weekend, have been cancelled. That has ended the indoor soccer season.

  • Wrestling Canada Lutte has postponed the 2020 U17/U19 Canadian Championships that were set to take place in Edmonton, April 3 to 5. A pair of Fort St. John wrestlers were set to make their national wrestling debut at the event.

  • The 2020 Canadian Boxing Championships, scheduled for May 12 to 17 in Montreal, have been suspended by Boxing Canada. Several Fivestar Boxing Academy fighters had qualified for the event.

  • The annual Kids Kin Curl Jam-Can event scheduled for March 14 has been cancelled. Curling club leagues will wrap-up as scheduled next week.

  • North Peace Gymnastics has closed all programs, except Junior Olympics and Interclub, to the public until further notice.

  • All Special Olympics events have been temporarily suspended.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They include cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing.

The best way to prevent potential transmission is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick.

This is a developing story.

Send your COVID-19 updates to: editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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