Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update to the COVID-19 situation on April 6. (Screenshot/ Facebook City of Victoria – local government).

City of Victoria looks to shift tens of millions in 2020 budget due to COVID-19

Mayor Lisa Helps offers her daily municipal, provincial and federal updates

The City of Victoria is looking at shifting tens of millions of dollars in its 2020 budget to accommodate the financial struggles associated with COVID-19.

This was one of things discussed by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps during her daily address to the public offering updates on municipal, provincial and federal decisions.

Victoria council will continue to examine budgetary options with an aim of helping businesses with failing economies and looking at options for commercial and residential property taxes.

ALSO READ: BC Transit extends free fare, installs vinyl barriers in some buses

Helps put out a thanks to the City’s technology department, which has allowed more meetings to happen online to enable social distancing. Amongst new duties associated with the coronavirus, city staff continue to work on creating an online registration system for youth transit passes.

Helps answered questions from the public about new measures, including why the city is growing food seedlings instead of offering funding to those in need; Helps answered it was faster to switch Parks and Recreation staff from flower to food production than it is to make the aforementioned budgetary decisions.

Helps clarified that Topaz Park is presently open and nearly full as a camping area for some of Victoria’s homeless population, but that the province is working to get indoor shelter spaces available as soon as possible for the city’s vulnerable.

Regionally, BC Transit extended its free fares until April 30.

Federal updates:

On Monday, April 6 the first round of applications opened for people to the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). Monday welcomed any applicants with birthdays from January to March to apply. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced early Monday morning that at least 300,000 people had already applied.

READ MORE: As 300K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Transport Canada also put forward an announcement asking for further limitations on marine travel, including from BC Ferries. BC Ferries pared down its sailings, and also began screening passengers prior to boarding the ships.

Provincial updates:

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced another at-home death related to COVID-19, this time to a man in his 40s. In the previous 48 hours, there were an additional 63 cases, bringing the total to 1,266. Of these, there has so far been a 62 per cent recovery rate, with 444 active cases still being monitored. The total number of positive COVID-19 patients on Vancouver Island sits at 79.

READ MORE: Recovery rate tops 60% but B.C. records death of man in his 40s due to COVID-19

– With files from Katya Slepian

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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