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City of Vancouver declares state of emergency amid coronavirus outbreak

Vancouver city hall expand powers to crack down on hoarding, plan to protect people in DTES
A state of emergency has been declared for the City of Vancouver. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the action is being taken to help provide more help for people on the Downtown East Side, and help enforce social distancing rules. Richard Zussman reports.
Vancouver city hall expand powers to crack down on hoarding, plan to protect people in DTES
Vancouver city hall expand powers to crack down on hoarding, plan to protect people in DTES

The City of Vancouver has declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It gives the city power to enforce public safety measures, such as closing all public-serving businesses or monitoring grocery stores and pharmacies to curb panic buying.

Police and fire officials can also enforce public health orders and restrictions on businesses.

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We have seen empty shelves and panic shopping in the last few days. This is unacceptable,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart told a news conference on Wednesday.

READ MORE: All Vancouver bars and restaurants ordered closed for St. Patrick’s Day

“Stay home as much as you can, and on the rare occasion that you need to leave home to get essentials, keep a safe distance of one to two metres from others.”

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Stewart has called a “virtual council meeting” for Thursday to further address the issue.

The city had already announced the closure of most civic facilities and the suspension of non-essential programs to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency in B.C. to address the COVID-19 pandemic.