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B.C. mayor wants cities to be allowed to enforce COVID-19 orders

The Mayor of Delta is concerned about golfers flocking to courses in his city and not practicing physical distancing amid the pandemic. Global News

The mayor of Delta in B.C.’s Lower Mainland wants the ability to enforce the province’s public-health to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus — at the local level.

Mayor George Harvie said he’s concerned about people gathering at non-essential businesses that are still open, such as golf courses, especially as the weather gets warmer.

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“Is it absolutely essential to have golf? No. absolutely not,” he said.

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“We’re now at a point where the next three weeks are critical. We’re having golf courses reopening, we’re having businesses starting to reopen, and people are just not getting the urgency here.”

It also sends the wrong message to small businesses that have been forced to shut down under the pandemic, he said.

“When I talk to them, their anxiety level is so high they don’t know if they can even open again. There should be one rule for all. People shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the weather.”

On top of that, Harvie said more golfers are flocking to Delta because the courses all closed in Vancouver.

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That’s because the City of Vancouver declared a state of local emergency under the Vancouver Charter, giving it the power to close public-serving businesses and monitor grocery stores and pharmacies to curb panic-buying.

Local states of emergency that had been declared in other municipalities, including Delta, were suspended when the province enacted sweeping measures to better control the movement of goods and services in the response to the pandemic.

Harvie has written to the B.C. government to request the ability to enforce orders for all municipalities.

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Global News has reached out to the province for comment.

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