COVID-19 Update to City of Vancouver and Park Board Staff

Monday, September 28, 2020

Greetings colleagues,

As we are entering Fall, I want to recognize once again the outstanding work that all of you have done over the past 7 months to respond to the pandemic and maintain the services that our community is counting on us to deliver. Over an extremely short period of time, you have fundamentally transformed the way we work and, in many cases, made real personal sacrifices to continue doing your jobs. I am deeply proud to be a part of what you have accomplished.

I know many of us are starting to get nervous about what the future holds for COVID-19 cases. With the recent growth in active cases in the region, we have experienced instances of staff testing positive for COVID, as well as members of the public who are COVID positive interacting with some of our staff. In all of those instances, we are in contact with 8-1-1 and are notifying all staff who have had contact with the COVID positive individuals. Our first priority is ensuring that all staff and the people serve stay safe and we continue to follow the advice and guidance of Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BCCDC in responding to any exposures.

Now more than ever, it is essential that we all look out for each other. It is critical that we all follow the direction from public health officials to stop the virus transmission – maintaining our distance, frequently washing hands, following capacity limits, limiting in-person meetings indoors and wearing face masks when we are not confident we can maintain distance from other people. Most importantly, you must not come to work if you have ANY symptoms of COVID. Please do not put your co-workers and their families at risk by attending work when you feel unwell.

We have received a number questions about the use of non-medical masks while in City facilities. We are in close contact with public health officials on this issue and are monitoring the evolving guidance regarding the use of masks. The World Health Organization, BCCDC and public health continue to advise that safety controls such as physical distancing, physical barriers, and compliance with your department’s approved safety plans are the most effective means to prevent the spread of COVID. Provided those measures are in place and it is possible to maintain two meter distancing, public health officials in BC are not recommending the mandatory use of non-medical masks. Nevertheless, we are encouraging staff and the public to wear non-medical masks as an added measure of protection. We are continuing to track this issue closely and will update our approach as necessary based on any new evidence or advice.

We are updating our guidance for managers and supervisors, including additional information on the steps to follow in the case of confirmed workplace exposures. If you have any questions or input regarding our safety plans, please speak with your manager or send your question to COVID19Questions@vancouver.ca.

Upcoming survey for non-office staff
One way we want to continue asking for your experience, comments and questions is through a survey we are going to share shortly with all staff not based in offices, similar to the one we held for all office workers recently. Feedback from this survey will help us continue to adapt to ensure we’re providing a safe, supportive workplace. This is coming soon, so please watch out for it if you are not working from home and office based.

Provincial election
We shared notification that a provincial election has been called for Oct. 24 on Citywire, with a reminder for all staff of the Corporate Policy around Political Activity as well as our social media expectations for staff. If you have any questions, please speak to your manager.

Also, as an opportunity to avoid public interactions and keep your bubble small, we are encouraging everyone to consider the option of voting by mail.

Stay informed
If you have questions, share them with your manager, or email COVID19Questions@vancouver.ca. If you have health-related questions, please call the staff COVID-19 health phone line Monday to Friday, from 9 am - 4:30 pm at 604-873-7668 and press 2. If you have an occupational safety question, please call 604-873-7668, press 1 and leave a message along with your name, department and phone number. The safety team will check messages throughout the day, and will aim to respond to messages left between the hours of Monday to Friday, 9 am - 4:30 pm on the same day.

New information will also continue to be shared on the COVID-19 Citywire site and vancouver.ca staff pages for anyone not connected through VPN.

Best, Sadhu

Sadhu Aufochs Johnston |
City Manager Office of the City Manager | City of Vancouver