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Vernon Turning Points has temporary winter shelter contract extended, but shelter currently not being used

Vernon's Turning Points Collaborative Society has had to temporarily close its temporary winter shelter because of a staff shortage. .
Vernon's Turning Points Collaborative Society has had to temporarily close its temporary winter shelter because of a staff shortage. . File / Global News

Although the contract for Vernon’s Turning Points temporary winter shelter was extended for three months, organizers say the site is not being used for sheltering at this time.

Vernon Turning Points says its sites are not operating at capacity, and that staff in the temporary winter shelter program are being deployed to other sites to help in ramped-up sanitization, cleaning and prevention during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The organization also said once it is able to recruit qualified staff to cover all shifts, it will re-open the physical portion of the [temporary winter shelter] program as needed.

“We are working diligently with BC Housing, Interior Health, the City of Vernon and our many other community partners to ensure that we continue to provide essential services during this time,” Turning Points Collaborative Society executive director Randene Wejr said in a news release.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Social services scaled back in Vernon, B.C. amid COVID-19 pandemic

The society said it is minimizing the risk of COVID-19 infection as much as possible at its other sites by following guidelines issued by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the provincial health officer.

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“This includes travel restrictions [and] hand washing protocols, including providing portable hand-washing stations at our shelters and housing sites,” Wejr said.

“In addition, we are practicing social distancing and have implemented a work-from-home strategy for staff that can do so.”

READ MORE: Okanagan medical clinics switch to phone and virtual appointment

The society said it has also shut down its housing and administrative sites to visitors and non-essential deliveries.

Vernon high school notified about possible coronavirus exposure
Vernon high school notified about possible coronavirus exposure