VANCOUVER City Hall and other civic facilities are flying the Canadian flag at half-mast from dawn to dusk on Thursday in memory of lives taken by COVID-19.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic a year ago, Vancouver has tragically lost more than 260 people to COVID-19. The pandemic has also led to a drastic increase in the number of people dying as a result of toxic drug supply, and in 2020 more than 400 people in Vancouver died of overdose, the City said.
“Each and every one of these individuals were members of our community,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Every person is a loss to their families as parents, grandparents, children, and siblings, and to the rest of us as neighbours, friends, and colleagues. As vaccines roll out, we need to continue to pull together. Every day that we stay strong and follow public health advice is another day closer to the end of this pandemic and a return to spending time with the people we love.”
The City said it recognizes that residents have been deeply, painfully impacted by the pandemic. People have been unable to visit family and friends to grieve and support each other the way we normally would through our multiple losses—of our loved ones, our jobs, our way of life. Many have suffered mental health challenges from the pressures of living under a global pandemic.
“A year of a global pandemic is exhausting on all of us. We are both thankful and inspired by all Vancouver residents who continue to make sacrifices during this difficult time,” said Paul Mochrie, Acting City Manager. “We are especially grateful to our healthcare and frontline workers, whose heroic efforts are sustaining us all.”
At dusk on Thursday, City Hall and Burrard Bridge will be lit blue in support of healthcare and frontline workers, before switching to yellow at 9 p.m., as a symbol of hope. Bloedel Conservatory will also be lit yellow until 9 p.m.
The Mayor and City Council have released a video message thanking Vancouver residents for all they continue to do to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The City’s Emergency Operations Centre remains active in coordinating the City’s COVID-19 response, including providing temporary hygiene supports in high need areas, monitoring public health orders, and supporting health authorities where requested.
The City said it recognizes the pandemic continues to impact residents, business and organizations throughout Vancouver. Resources remain available to support people through COVID-19 and can be found at vancouver.ca/covid19.