District of Saanich to close most facilities in repsonse to COVID-19 provincial advisory. (Saanich Municipal Hall/Google Maps)

Saanich amps up COVID-19 precautions, closes all major facilities to the public

Mayor says municipal hall will remain open via scheduled appointment

Saanich is closing up shop. As of March 19, all municipal facillities are closed with some available by appointment.

Mayor Fred Haynes says what the district is trying to, “discourage spontaneous public entry” but will allow the public to schedule appointments to access municipal hall. The precautions are set to protect residents.

The district came to its decision after direction at the provincial level to restrict non-essential activities outside of the home. Haynes says Saanich is working to continually provide all services.

ALSO READ: Saanich residents receive six-hour water shut off notice amid COVID-19 concerns

Haynes says municipal employees have been given other tasks to keep them occupied in their roles. “This is not just a health pandemic, it is a financial and economic turbulence as well,” Hanyes says.

Although all major buildings and recreation centres will be closed to the public, Haynes says the Cedar Hill Gold Course will remain open as it is a low contact operation.

Craig Rencher, head professional, says the sport is a good way for people to get out in nature during the pandemic as it already encourages social distancing due to the spacing parameters in place when using the driving range.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus self-assessment soars in B.C., 1-888-COVID19 line picking up

The course has also set up parameters to ensure the safety of golfers playing the course. Rencher says groups cannot exceed 10 people, all members of the group must follow social distancing guidelines and that players are not to take the flag out of the green. All equipment is disinfected between uses, and golfers are to wash their hands upon entry and exit of the facility.

The golf course has also closed all indoor facilities and currently services customers through a walk-up window.

All group activities, including the junior youth program, are suspended. Parents who have already signed up their children for the youth program can get a refund or reschedule.

ALSO READ: B.C. Teachers’ Federation says teachers will return to schools after spring break

Rencher is glad that the golf course is open as he sees this time as critical for seniors to have the option to get outside and do an activity. “We are so fortunate that we are open,” as the COVID-19 situation could change at any minute Rencher says.

Haynes hopes residents treat the situation like a 14-day snow day and encourages residents to get into their hobbies.

Residents can make an appointment to access municipal hall by calling 250-475-1775. Phone services are available at all recreation centres Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Visit saanich.ca/COVID-19 for more details.

sarah.schuchard@saanichnews.com


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