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CITY SERVICES UPDATES - COVID 19

The City of Abbotsford will post all information and community updates related to COVID-19 and City services on this webpage.
CITY SERVICES UPDATES REGARDING COVID-19:

March 27, 2020 - City Undertaking Additional Staffing Changes

Approximately 120 auxiliary recreation staff no longer scheduled for work due to the temporary closure of City recreation facilities will receive lay-off notice today. All City of Abbotsford recreation centres were closed to the public earlier this month to support social distancing and efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

All affected staff will be provided with a Record of Employment from the City of Abbotsford making them eligible to apply for Employment Insurance and other supports from the federal and provincial governments. The City of Abbotsford will continue to maintain contact with these workers to ensure there can be an efficient transition back to work when the current health emergency comes to a close.

The City of Abbotsford is committed to maintaining a high level of essential services for residents through the entire COVID-19 event.

March 26, 2020 - Open Air Burning Ban Across Abbotsford

Effective today, the City of Abbotsford will be enforcing an Open Air Burning Ban in alignment with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and other Provincial public health partners. Open air burning restrictions for all High Smoke Sensitivity Zones across the province will be in place until Wednesday April 15th, 2020.

These measures are being put in place to help reduce excessive air pollution in the high risk airsheds across the province. Studies have shown air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections (COVID -19) by decreasing immune function leading to more severe effects.  View the Information Bulletin for full details.

March 25, 2020 - Sport Courts Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

City of Abbotsford Sport Courts are closed to the public until further notice.  Sport Courts include:

  • Basketball Courts
  • Tennis Courts
  • Pickle Ball Courts
  • Other courts including outdoor volleyball courts

Thank you for your cooperation in maintaining social distancing.  ​

March 25, 2020 - Temporary Staffing Changes - City of Abbotsford

All City of Abbotsford recreation centres were closed to the public earlier this month to support social distancing and efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Temporary staffing changes are now being implemented for fitness and community recreation contractors no longer scheduled for work due to the temporary closure of City recreation facilities.

Approximately 115 contract workers will be provided with a Record of Employment from the City of Abbotsford making them eligible to apply for Employment Insurance and other supports from the federal and provincial governments. The City of Abbotsford will continue to maintain contact with these workers to ensure there can be an efficient transition back to work when the health emergency comes to a close. The City of Abbotsford is committed to maintaining a high level of essential services for residents through the entire COVID-19 event.

March 24, 2020 - Planning and Development Services Update

The closure of City Hall to the public does not impact existing online, phone and virtual City services at the present time, but it will result in some changes to how the City continues to provide services to our customers.  Outlined below are the list of some changes that have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented at this time.

General Inquiries
If you have a general inquiry regarding land use, zoning, building, development or business licensing please connect with us either online or through the phone as per the contacts below.

Development Planning 
Tel: 604 864 5510
Email: planning-info@abbotsford.ca

Building Permits:
Tel: 604 864 5525
Email: building-info@abbotsford.ca

Business Licencing:
Tel: 604 864 5525
Email: businesslicence@abbotsford.ca

Development Inquiry Meetings
Staff are continuing to provide this free service to our customers during the current COVID-19 situation and closure of City Hall to the public, via either a conference call or web conference.  The meeting request process is unchanged and can be commenced by submitting a request online through our website at www.abbotsford.ca/DIM

Development Application
Staff continue to accept new Development Applications, and to ensure we continue to support efforts in slowing the spread of COVID-19, additional measures have been implemented:

  • Please contact planning-applications@abbotsford.ca to coordinate a preliminary review of the documentation that you intend to submit to ensure that you have a fully completed application package.  Once staff confirm that your application is complete they will contact you to confirm your application fee
  • Applications can be submitted via the drop-box at the front door of City Hall (which is being checked multiple times per day), full size of drawings/plans are not required at this time so applications can fit within the drop box. Please do not include cash.  Cheques, credit card (up to $5,000), money order or bank draft are acceptable
  • Should your application involve submitting full size drawings, we will accept those through a courier service only. Once a courier arrives at the building, they can arrange for the physical document transfer into City Hall by calling 604 853 2281.  Safety protocols are in place as part of this process to sign for the documents.  Physical access into the building by the couriers is not permitted.

To ensure safety of staff, documents and parcels received will be set aside for 48 hours before distributing within City Hall.

Cannabis Retail Application In-take 
The period of application intake is being extended from April 3rd to May 1st, 2020 to permit additional time for applicants to put together their materials. For information on this process please visit www.letstalkabbotsford.ca/cannabis 

Building/Plumbing Permit Applications
Staff continue to accept new Building Permits, and to ensure we continue to support efforts in slowing the spread of COVID-19, additional measures have been implemented:

  • Applications can be submitted via the drop-box at the front door of City Hall (which is being checked multiple times per day) that only involve letter or legal size plans/drawings. Please do not include cash. Cheques, credit card (up to $5,000), money order or bank draft are acceptable
  • Should your application involve submitting full size drawings, we will accept those through a courier service only. Once a courier arrives at the building, they can arrange for the physical document transfer into City Hall by calling 604 853 2281.  Safety protocols are in place as part of this process to sign for the documents.  Physical access into the building by the couriers is not permitted.
    To ensure safety of staff, documents and parcels received will be set aside for 48 hours before distributing within City Hall.
  • Further information regarding document pickup will be available soon

Building Permit Issuance
New building permit issuance will not be available for pickup at City Hall. A draft of a building permit conditions will be emailed to the applicant for the applicant to review and confirm in writing (email is acceptable) that they acknowledge the terms and conditions of the permit. Upon receipt of the written confirmation, staff will issue the applicant the building permit via email.

Step Code Implementation (New Single Detached Dwellings)
The Step Code implementation date for single detached dwellings was planned for April 1, 2020.  This will be postponed until further notice.

Building Inspections
These can continue to be booked or cancelled via the City’s website

City staff may not attend to all inspection requests in person and may complete inspections by using alternative methods (i.e. such as field reviews from registered professionals). When staff perform an inspection, social distancing protocols must be followed and the inspector may ask for the building to be vacated prior to performing the inspection (rescheduling of the inspection may be necessary). If an inspection request will not be attended to by City staff, applicants will be contacted directly to outlined next steps. Where possible, we recommend that supporting documents for inspections be emailed directly to the building inspector. For documents which can’t be emailed, please use the protocols outlined earlier in this bulletin.

Business Licences
New business licences and renewals can be completed online (see link below) and supporting documents can be emailed to businesslicence@abbotsford.ca. Business Licences will continue to be mailed out when ready. 

March 23, 2020 - All Playground Structures and Skateboard Parks Closed to the Public

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 all City of Abbotsford playground structures and skateboard parks, and all Abbotsford School District playground structures, will be closed to the public until further notice to help in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford School District are united in making this decision to support public health and wellness in our community. Information on all closures and updates regarding the City of Abbotsford’s response and the Abbotsford School District's response to COVID-19 can be found online at www.abbotsford.ca/covid19updates and www.abbyschools.ca, respectively.

“The City of Abbotsford is committed to supporting the efforts of our federal and provincial health authorities as they work tirelessly to reduce the impact on our health care systems and flatten the curve of COVID-19. Now is the time for all of us to work together, and to come together as a whole community to do everything we can to follow social distancing measures of remaining 2 metres apart from others. This doesn’t mean that we stop supporting one another though. We need to remember to say hello to our neighbours across the street, touch base with family and friends who may be isolated, and ensure that our senior citizens and most vulnerable are not forgotten. We will continue to get through this crisis by working together.” Henry Braun Mayor, City of Abbotsford

“There is nothing more important than the health, safety and well-being of our students, families and staff. As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop across the country and in our province, we are committed to working with the City of Abbotsford to flatten the curve. I hope we all continue to do our part, follow the advice of health officials in keeping our selves, our family, and our community in good health, and social distance accordingly when you spend time outside of your home.” Stan Petersen Board Chair, Abbotsford School District

Associated Links:

Abbotsford COVID-19 updates: www.abbotsford.ca/covid19updates
Abbotsford School District: www.abbyschools.ca

March 23, 2020 - Curbside Collection and Compostables Information

Important Curbside Update: To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our waste collection workers, these items are temporarily NOT accepted with curbside compostables:

  • Paper towels
  • Paper napkins
  • Facial tissues 

All waste should be bagged, securely tied, and disposed of with regular garbage. 

Reminder: Don’t flush unflushables! Disinfectant wipes, baby wipes and paper towels should be bagged, securely tied and disposed of with regular garbage. 

Visit www.abbotsford.ca/wastewizard for current information on what goes where. 

March 20, 2020 - Fraser Valley Transit Systems Service Update

BC Transit, our local government partners and our local transit staff in the Fraser Valley are continuing to work to ensure we have service on the road for customers that need to get to work, including hospitals, and going out for groceries or other needs.

We are implementing rear door boarding in to enhance social distancing for drivers and passengers. Passengers can still load through the front door if they require use of the ramp or other accessible features of the bus. In addition, customers who normally pay with cash or tickets will not be required to pay. These changes are for the Central Fraser Valley Transit System, Chilliwack Transit System, the Fraser Valley Express, Hope Transit System, and Agassiz-Harrison Transit System. BC Transit continues to adjust to the fluid situation along with other businesses and agencies in Canada and around the world.

We are working to match ridership with demand and expect to have daily trip cancellations for the foreseeable future in various systems. We will update customers on a day-by-day basis while we work on implementing and communicating a new sustainable plan for service. We encourage people to stay up to date for daily trip cancellations at BCTransit.com, or through our customer call centre.

Media contact:

BC Transit Communications
Ph: 250-880-1303 
Email: Media@bctransit.com

March 18, 2020 - All City Facilities Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

Based on the directions of Federal and Provincial governments and Public Health Authorities, the City of Abbotsford is closing all City facilities to the public to support slowing the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to closing all recreation centres earlier this week, City Hall, the Public Works Yard, Abbotsford Police front counters and front counters at Fire Halls are now closed to the public as of 4:30 p.m. today (March 18, 2020) until further notice, pending any further changes or developments related to COVID-19.

All online, phone and virtual City services will be operating until further notice. A dedicated phone number will be available beginning March 19th for residents, businesses and stakeholders who have questions regarding those City services only previously available in person: 604-504-4044.

City Council meetings are available to be viewed online at www.abbotsford.ca/watchcouncilonline.

“This is an unprecedented time for our community, for our country and for the world. It’s time for all of us to come together as a community - we have to break the chain of transmission and continue to flatten the curve.”
Henry Braun Mayor, City of Abbotsford

Resources:

March 18, 2020 - Parks and Field Update
  • Based on recent direction from the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health to limit public gatherings, the City of Abbotsford will not be taking any new field bookings, and will be cancelling all existing field bookings, until further notice.

  • All City of Abbotsford Parks will remain open for the time being and public members using Parks are encouraged to follow safe health practices while using them including social distancing. For a full list of safe health practices and other resources please visit the Public Health Website. Existing bookings for Parks picnic shelters will be cancelled and no new bookings will be taken until further notice. All events booked in Abbotsford Parks will also be cancelled until further notice.

  • Due to the closure of our recreation facilities, the City will also be working with its many lease holders to ensure the directives of the Provincial Health officer are met. This will likely mean that many community service and sports groups will be unable to deliver services from City recreation facilities. A large majority of these lease holders have already ceased operation on their own.

  • Full refunds will be provided to all user groups for all cancellations, including all related City permit fees.

    Update on Bookings at Recreation Centres

  • Recreation facilities remain closed until further notice. No new bookings are being taken, and we will be cancelling existing bookings until further notice.
March 16, 2020 - All Recreation Centres and Non-Essential Facilities Closed

Effective end-of-business today, the City is closing or limiting public access to all city recreation centres and civic-facilities to curb the spread of COVID-19 and focus on providing essential city services. MRC and ARC will be open for Daycamps only on Tuesday March 17, 2020 to assist parents with finding alternate child-care but will be fully closed effective Wednesday March 18, 2020.
 
Today’s closures include:

  • Abbotsford Recreation Centre – Closing at 12 midnight today
  • Matsqui Recreation Centre – Closing at 10pm today
  • Matsqui Centennial Auditorium – Closed immediately
  • MSA Arena – Closed immediately
  • Centennial Pool

Memberships at ARC & MRC will be placed on-hold until the facilities re-open.

Anyone who has already paid for a City program at a closed facility location will receive a full refund.

All other City services and facilities not referenced above remain operational at this time, although service delivery may be adjusted as appropriate to support social distancing. 

The City of Abbotsford continues to work with public health officials and stakeholders on the COVID-19 response. There is the potential for further service closures in the days to come as the City works to ensure the highest level of essential services.   

All gatherings over 50 people in civic facilities or parks are also cancelled or postponed until further notice. Events taking place at the Abbotsford Centre have also been cancelled. 

Residents are encouraged to follow @City_Abbotsford on Twitter to receive the latest updates on COVID-19 response.

“In the interest of protecting our residents and working to flatten the curve of COVID-19 the City of Abbotsford is closing most civic facilities and non-essential programs. This is a time for our community to support one another by practicing social distancing as a way to care for our neighbors who are most at-risk.  Safety and the well-being of our community is at the forefront of our decision-making.”
 
Henry Braun
Mayor, City of Abbotsford

 

March 13, 2020 - Events of people over 250 Cancelled or Temporarily Postponed

On March 12, 2020 the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health directed the cancellation of all public gatherings of more than 250 people within the Province of British Columbia to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In response to this directive, all events of over 250 people that are scheduled in facilities owned by the City of Abbotsford are cancelled until further notice. The City will continue reaching out to work closely with event organizers to assess impacts and provide updated communications as the situation continues.

The City is encouraging event organizers to follow the directive of the health authorities and to use the Government of Canada’s Public Health Mass Gathering Risk Assessment tool to support risk-informed decisions. Community members who may have questions or concerns related to public gatherings being organized by community groups or other agencies, are urged to contact the organizers directly.

The City of Abbotsford will continue to work closely with our stakeholders and customers to coordinate cancellations as well as options for rebooking in the future. We will continue to engage with Fraser Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor this changing situation.

March 12, 2020 - Update to Residents

The City of Abbotsford is working closely with our government partners to monitor developments relating to COVID-19, and are regularly reviewing updates from provincial, Canadian and global health authorities.

The health and safety of our customers and our team members is a top priority for us. In the past several weeks, we have taken additional precautionary measures to enhance the cleanliness and sanitization throughout City facilities. 

We will also increase communication to ensure our clients, guests and teams are supported and informed. 

We are also ensuring our team members have the information they need to stay healthy or stay home if they are not feeling well. 

Based on the guidance we have received from various health agencies, as well as our own preparedness measures, we are confident the City continues to be a safe environment and we remain open for regular business.

We will continue to update residents should things change. Further updates will be posted to this webpage as they are available.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the following resources:


RESOURCES AND INFORMATION:

 


STAY CONNECTED ONLINE: 

View our Stay Connected Online webpage for ways to connect with us online.