(Stock photo)

EDITORIAL: Stay home

Message about COVID-19 must be taken seriously to slow spread of pandemic

Stay home.

This is the message we have heard over the past few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

It is a message that needs to be repeated, and it is a message that must be heeded.

At present, close to 440,000 people worldwide have tested positive for the virus, and more than 20,000 have died. These numbers are increasing.

Around the world, hospitals and health care facilities are being overloaded as doctors, nurses and health care providers are working to treat those who are affected.

READ ALSO: 28% of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases have recovered: provincial health officer

READ ALSO: Take COVID-19 seriously, says B.C. doctor

There is no cure and no vaccine available, and there is still much we do not know about this virus. The only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. This means staying home as much as possible, and when out in public, maintaining a distance of two metres from others.

While going to work, going out to get groceries, medicines or other essential supplies or getting out for a walk are still permitted, contact with others is to be avoided.

House parties, impromptu soccer or basketball games, beach gatherings and the like are not appropriate at this time. The close contact allows the spread of this virus.

Our efforts now can help to limit the severity of this pandemic.

Last week, the municipality of Summerland made the decision to close all its facilities to the public. Staff are still working, but access to the public has been barred. Monday’s council meeting was closed to the public and items requiring an opportunity for public comment or a public hearing were deferred.

READ ALSO: Summerland closes playgrounds

The same decision has been made at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, at Penticton’s city offices and facilities and in many other communities.

The province has ordered that pubs, bars and restaurants may no longer serve patrons in their facilities. Liquor sales are still permitted and restaurants may still provide take-out and delivery services.

In addition, numerous businesses, in our community and beyond, have taken measures to control the spread of the virus.

Some, such as grocery stores, are remaining open, but have taken measures to increase sanitation measures as a way to protect their staff and their customers. We thank them for making these difficult decisions.

We urge others to do your part to help slow the spread of this pandemic.

— Black Press

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