Emergency Operations Centre

Bowen Island Municipality is working to share information and operational updates as we support efforts to slow transmission of COVID-19 and help keep our community healthy. We are following the recommendations of British Columbia's Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health.

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All COVID-19 updates will be posted on this page, below. 

You can also subscribe to receive EOC Updates by e-mail, or follow us on Facebook.

Contact the EOC: 604-992-4830 or EOC.Liaison@bimbc.ca


Where to find accurate, up-to-date information from health authorities

April 7 at 1:40 pm

With the long weekend approaching and warm weather in the forecast, Bowen Island Municipality is reminding people who want to visit Bowen Island that now is not the time. We need you to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel.

It is imperative that friends and families celebrating holidays do so while maintaining physical distance, which means staying home, as much as possible, and not gathering with people from outside of your household. There are many virtual ways that we can connect and celebrate together, and we encourage you to use technologies to maintain that social connection - from a distance.

Read the news release

April 3 at 2:00 pm

Mayor Ander's video update to the community on COVID-19.

April 2 at 3:30 pm: EOC Update

The Emergency Operations Centre team has been coordinating Bowen Island Municipality’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few new developments have taken place over the last few days and they are summarized in today's EOC Update.

Read EOC Update # 4

April 2 at 11:30 am

Bowen Waste Solutions (BWS) is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Bowen Island Recycling Depot (BIRD). Careful consideration has been taken to comply with health and safety requirements for our staff and the community. BIRD will re-open with some temporary procedures and limitations on Friday, April 3, 2020.

Read the BIRD guidelines

March 31 at 2:30 pm

How to help our local grocery stores during COVID-19

Our grocery stores provide an essential service on Bowen Island by ensuring safe and reliable access to food, supplies and other provisions. Now more than ever, our local small businesses need your support.

Working with the grocery stores, we've prepared some guidance for ways you can help them remain open and supporting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more

March 27 at 1:30 pm

Mayor Ander's video update to the community on COVID-19.

March 27 at 1:00 pm: EOC Update

EOC staff have been working hard coordinating Bowen Island Municipality’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few new developments have taken place over the last few days and they are summarized in today's EOC Update.

Read EOC Update # 3

March 26 at 2:00 pm

The Province of B.C. has issued a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial State of Emergency.

These orders were made to protect consumers and the supply chain, define essential services, enable local enforcement of public health orders, ensure priority access for residents on BC Ferries, and provide support to local governments.

Read the Province's news release

March 25 at 3:00 pm

Garbage collection

Bowen Waste Solutions has provided interim guidelines for garbage collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the interim guidelines

Guidance for construction sites and building projects

Bowen Island Municipality has communicated to BIM Business Licence holders and building contractors to share provincial guidance for construction sites and building projects operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the guidelines

March 24 at 1:00 pm: EOC Update

EOC staff have been working hard coordinating Bowen Island Municipality’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past week. We've prepared a summary of the EOC's activities to date, what we're currently working on and ongoing activities.

Read EOC Update # 2

March 24 at 8:30 am

At its meeting on Monday, March 23, Council did not declare a State of Local Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is based on information received by the Province that it is planning a more centralized provincial response rather than local states of emergency for municipalities.

We will post an update when we have more information.

March 21 at 7:30 pm

Council will be considering the possibility of declaring a State of Local Emergency on Bowen Island at its meeting on Monday, March 23.

A State of Local Emergency could give Bowen Island Municipality the authority to restrict travel to Bowen Island, among other powers.

Read the provincial legislation about State of Local Emergency

To make a submission to Council regarding this possibility, please send an e-mail to mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca

March 20 at 4:45 pm

The EOC is demobilized over the weekend and will activate again on Monday, March 23 at 8:30 am. We are working on a getting a dedicated EOC phone inquiry line for next week. Meanwhile, any urgent inquiries can be sent by e-mail to eoc.liaison@bimbc.ca.

March 20 at 3:45 pm

Mayor Ander's video update to the community on COVID-19.

March 20 at 1:15 pm

Bowen Island Municipality and Tourism Bowen Island are asking all visitors to postpone trips to Bowen Island, whether you were planning on coming here for the day or staying with one of our accommodation providers. We’re also asking visitors currently on the island to make your plans to return home. We know you want to come and enjoy Bowen Island, but our message to you today is “Please do not come.” Stay home.

Read the news release

March 19 at 1:00 pm: EOC Update

At this time, we should assume that there are cases on COVID-19 in our community, and should continue to follow the good advice of our public health officials at Vancouver Coastal Health.

The approach to containment of the virus remains the same, in that sick people should stay home, and everyone else should practice good hygiene and social distancing.

Read EOC Update #1

March 18 at 11:00 am

Bowen Island Municipality has activated the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

All COVID-19 updates will be posted on this page.

March 18 at 9:00 am

Bowen Island Recycling Depot is closed, effective immediately, in response to direction from the Chief Medical Health Officer of BC and the Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health. The closure will be in effect until further notice.

Bowen Waste Solutions will continue with essential services such as garbage, green waste/food waste and commercial pick-up.

Read the news release

March 17 at 1:00 pm

Mayor Ander has issued a statement on Bowen Island Municipality's response to COVID-19.

"These are uncertain times, but I am certain that we will make it through this together, Bowen Island." said Mayor Ander, "Take care of yourselves, and let’s take care of each other, because that’s what we do here."

Read the full statement

March 17 at 8:30 am

Municipal Hall is closed to the public, effective immediately. We will continue to provide essential services. Please contact us by phone 604-947-4255 or e-mail bim@bimbc.ca to make alternative arrangements to in-person service. 

March 16 at 4:00 pm

In the interest of minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in our community, the following Municipal programs are changed.

Municipal meetings/events

  • Advisory Design Panel - March 16, 2020 Cancelled
  • Housing Advisory Committee - March 18, 2020 Cancelled
  • Advisory Design Panel - March 18, 2020 Cancelled
  • Public Open House 720 Gardner Lane - March 19, 2020 Cancelled
  • RentSmart Workshop for Landlords - March 21, 2020 Cancelled
  • Community Economic Development Committee - March 23, 2020 Cancelled
  • Regular Council Meeting - March 23, 2020: Agenda items will be limited to the Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw and other time sensitive items. As Municipal Hall is closed to the public, we encourage members of the public to watch the video on our YouTube account.

Community Recreation cancellations

Spring Break Camps, Community Weight Room access, Fitness programs, Youth Centre Hours and Playcare are cancelled as of 3:00 pm on Monday, March 16. Refunds for pre-paid programs will be processed over the next 2-3 business days.

Closures for on-going programs will remain indefinite as information becomes available, please check our social media sites for updates.

Municipal Hall

Municipal Hall is now closed to the public. We will continue to provide all essential services. You can still contact us:

Phone: 604-947-4255
E-mail: bim@bimbc.ca

Bowen Island Public Library

The library is closed in response to recommendations of the public health authorities. During the closure, you can still access many online resources from home, including eBooks, eAudio, online learning, digital magazines, and more. Library staff are still available to answer questions by e-mail to info@bowenlibrary.ca.

What you can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19

  • Stay home, as much as possible
  • Self-isolate at home if you are sick
  • If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus, call 8-1-1 or use this online tool for an assessment. Do not drop in to local doctor's office facilities without calling first. 
  • Good hygiene:  Wash hands frequently with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (such as coughing into your elbow or using a tissue) , and avoid touching your face
  • If you are returning from travel outside of Canada, you must self-isolate (stay home) for 14 days. This includes all members of the household, even if they were not travelling with you.
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Avoid non-essential travel, such as for tourism or recreation

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing is a way that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact with others. We should keep about two meters (six feet) or two full arm's lengths from one another when we are outside our homes.

  • Stay home, as much as possible. Only go out to get groceries or medicine, or if your work requires it.
  • Avoid close contact with others such as hugging and shaking hands.
  • Avoid crowds or large groups of people.
  • Stay at least 2 m away from others in public.
  • Don't gather with people from outside your household.

How to self-isolate and what that means for family members

If you have returned from international travel

People arriving from outside of Canada must self-isolate, which means staying home and not going to work or school, and monitoring for symptoms for 14 days after arrival in Canada. Family members within the same household are asked to stay in self-isolation for 14 days even if they did not accompany the traveler on their trip. 

Read the BC Centre for Disease Control’s instructions for self-isolation after travel

If you are sick

If you are sick, stay home. Avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to others in your home and your community. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is expected that you take the following measures:

  • Stay home.
  • Limit contact with others in the home.
  • Keep your hands clean.
  • Avoid contaminating common items and surfaces.
  • Care for yourself.
  • If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse than when you got tested; seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read Health Canada’s instructions for isolating at home

Do you need to be tested?

Self-monitoring means looking for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus infection such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, etc. The BC Ministry of Health has created an online assessment tool to help you determine if you need to be tested.

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

People with respiratory symptoms who are:

  • Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized.
  • Health Care Workers.
  • Residents of long term care facilities.
  • Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak.

Who does not need to be tested for COVID-19?

  • People without symptoms.
  • Patients with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home, including returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada.

Use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Our local doctor's office has COVID-19 testing available, but testing is restricted to the criteria above. Rather than calling Dr. Schloegel's office for advice, please consult the BC Centre for Disease Control's website.

Read the BC Centre for Disease Control’s instructions for self-monitoring and testing

Bowen Island Municipality's response to COVID-19

The Province of BC is coordinating the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A provincial State of Emergency is in effect. 

Bowen Island Municipality is following the direction of the provincial government and health authorities in guiding our operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation is changing daily, we will continue to look to the health authorities for their direction and will assess and update our protocols as necessary.

What Bowen Island Municipality is doing

  • Municipal Hall is closed to the public, but our staff will continue to provide essential services while complying with the direction of the Provincial Health Officer.
  • Council is continuing to meet to conduct regular business, but the meetings are taking place online.
  • The Emergency Operations Centre is activated to coordinate our response and receive provincial emergency funding.
  • All staff with the ability to work from home are doing so.
  • Outside workers are altering their work practices and hours to maintain physical distancing.
  • All spring break camps, fitness programs, youth centre programs, are cancelled, and the weight room is closed until further notice.
  • We have reinforced the Fire Department's strict protocols regarding patient contact.
  • All non-essential meetings are cancelled.
  • We are following the direction and advice of the Province of BC.

We are continuously adding Frequently Asked Questions about local issues on this page. Issues are changing daily and hourly, so we've included the date and time that the information is current. If you notice something that needs to be updated, please notify us at bim@bimbc.ca.

The Bowen Island Undercurrent is regularly updating a list of services that are open, closed, or adapted.

Another resource to check out is Bowen.fyi, a website created by local volunteers about the services available for Bowen Islanders navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.


I see groups of people who are not practicing physical distancing. What should I do?

It is everyone’s responsibility to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is our strong expectation that Bowen Islanders will comply with recommendations of the health authorities. We do not recommend that you engage or interact with people who are not following the recommendations.

The Province has issued an order authorizing Municipal bylaw officers to assist in providing information and advice to businesses and individuals who may be acting in contravention of public health orders.

If you have a complaint, please call Bylaw Services at 604-328-5499 or the RCMP non-emergency line at 604-947-0516.

Current as of April 2 at 12 pm.

I am sick at home with COVID-19. How do I get help?

If you have mild symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with others. Wear a face mask to protect others, cover your coughs, wash your hands frequently, don’t share household items and clean all surfaces regularly.

If you need food or supplies delivered, can you reach out to a friend or neighbour? Or you could try the free delivery service offered by Artisan Office, visit https://artisanoffice.com/ or call 604-947-9119. A local Facebook group has been started by a community member for community members to give or ask for help when its needed, it’s called Flatten the Curve - Bowen Island. Additional local information and resources are available at http://www.bowen.fyi/

Pay attention to your health. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse than when you got tested; seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read more health advice from the BC CDC

Current as of March 24 at 10:00 am.

Can the Municipality stop tourists from coming to Bowen?

Bowen Island Municipality and Tourism Bowen Island have asked all visitors to postpone trips to Bowen Island via a media release that was widely covered by local, regional and national media networks.

BC Ferries has issued a travel advisory advising customers to avoid all non-essential travel (such as for tourism or recreation). Further, the Province has ordered BC Ferries to ensure priority loading for residents and vehicles carrying essential goods and services.

Current as of March 26 at 3:00 pm.

Should I be sanitizing garbage cans & organics cans?

Bowen Waste Solutions has implemented some interim guidelines for garbage collection during the COVID-19 pandemic, but these don’t include sanitizing your garbage cans. Workers are maintaining the required physical distance and using personal protective equipment.

You can help by practicing good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 30 seconds, BEFORE and AFTER handling your garbage bins
  • Avoid touching your face before, during and after handling your garbage bins

No loose waste: All tissues, and toilet paper soiled with human fluids or disinfectants/cleaner must be placed in sealed and securely tied garbage bags. All disposable wipes are garbage, NOT recycling or organic waste.

Current as of March 27 at 1:00 pm.

What are the responsibilities of contractors/construction workers on a job site during COVID-19?

The Provincial government has provided guidance to construction sites that should be followed when conducting this type of work. Affected employees can contact WorkSafe BC with specific concerns. Concerned members of the public can contact the local RCMP at 604-947-0516 to report violations.

Current as of March 24 at 10:00 am.

Why is there a fire ban in place?

Bowen Island Fire Rescue is a volunteer organization; in order to protect volunteers, avoid unnecessary callouts and preserve personal protective equipment, we have restricted burning this year.

This also helps the air quality for people who are self-isolating at home with respiratory problems.

Current as of March 24 at 10:00 am.

Why are we painting colored dots on the Multi Use Path during a pandemic?

This work was paid for with grant funding and was scheduled prior to the beginning of the pandemic.

Current as of March 24 at 10:00 am.

I want to bring supplies to a friend or neighbor who is sick. Are there any precautions I should take?

Absolutely!

The most significant precaution is to avoid physical contact and keep your distance. Currently, physical distancing and frequent hand washing is the best way to slow the transmission of the virus. If you are delivering groceries, prescriptions, etc. to someone who is sick, call or text prior to arrival and inform them that their deliveries are on their doorstep. Remember to keep a two-metre distance (six feet). No hugs, fist bumps, or other contact…just a friendly smile and a wave.

If possible, deliver groceries, not cooked meals. No one knows if they’ve been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person or if you may have the virus and are asymptomatic. The number one priority is limiting or slowing the spread of the virus. Delivering groceries mitigates the possibility of contamination during cooking.

NOTE: local food establishments function under ‘Food Safe, BC’ Guidelines and are well prepared and monitored in preparing and distributing food.

Be aware of the delivery containers you use, the containers can make an important difference. Although much depends on the temperature, humidity, and other variables, the current research suggests that the virus can survive on plastic, stainless steel, and other hard surfaces for up to 72 hours; paper and cardboard for up to 24 hours; and copper for up to 24 hours.

Sanitize before and after:  Use hand sanitizer—or preferably wash your hands, if possible—before and immediately after any delivery. 

Current as of March 24 at 12:00 pm.

Can the Municipality force accommodation providers to close?

No, the Municipality does not have the authority to close businesses unless they are operating without a licence or in contravention of zoning. At this time, there has been no provincial health order for accommodation providers to close.

We know that some accommodation providers on the island are providing support for essential service workers, and many have voluntarily closed already.

Our messaging to tourists and recreational visitors to postpone their trips to Bowen Island or make arrangements to go home was widely covered in the media, and Tourism Bowen Island distributed it to local accommodation providers within their membership.

We are proud to see that many of our local businesses have been proactive in complying with public health orders and we expect that they will continue to do so.

Current as of April 7 at 3:00 pm.

Self-isolation is now mandatory for people returning to Canada from international travel. What do I do if I see someone breaking this rule?

The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all persons entering Canada, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. You can read about these requirements HERE.

If you are concerned that someone on Bowen Island is not following these rules, you can contact the local RCMP at 604-947-0516 to report violations.

Current as of March 26 at 3:00 pm.

Why doesn’t Bowen Island declare a State of Local Emergency?

The Provincial government is coordinating B.C.’s response to COVID-19 under a provincial State of Emergency. Bowen Island Municipality is unable to declare a State of Local Emergency without permission from the Province.

Read the Province’s news release

Current as of March 26 at 3:00 pm.

Do I need to worry about COVID-19 in the water supply?

The World Health Organization has stated that the, “presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.” Water users can continue to use their water as they have been previously.

Providing your water system is not already on a Boil Water Notice, boiling your water is not required as a precaution against COVID-19. Treated tap water is safe to use as usual.

Other than your regular stock of emergency water, there is no need to purchase or use bottled water to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Current as of March 26 at 3:00 pm.

Will wearing a mask protect me from getting COVID-19?

The provincial health officer has stated that medical masks need to be reserved for health care workers.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, it’s less effective to wear a mask in the community to protect yourself from COVID-19. Masks may give a person a false sense of security and are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face (e.g., to adjust the mask). Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.

Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, it is important to treat others with respect if they choose to wear a mask.

You can read current recommendations on the use of masks on the websites of the BC CDC, Government of Canada and the World Health Organization.

Current as of April 6 at 3:30 pm.

Do home-made masks work?            

Non-medical (home-made) masks may help keep your droplets in, making it less likely that you could infect others, but they will not protect you from getting COVID-19.

If you are making a mask, here is some information to improve the effectiveness of homemade masks:

  • Some materials are better than others. Use clean and stretchy 100% cotton t-shirts or pillowcases.
  • Ensure the mask fits tightly around the nose and mouth; material that allows droplets to pass through will not work.
  • The mask should be comfortable, or you won’t want to wear it consistently.
  • If the mask makes it a lot harder to breathe, then the seal will not be as good, and the mask will be less effective.
  • Clean or change the mask often.

Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, it is important to treat others with respect if they choose to wear a mask.

You can read current recommendations on the use of masks on the websites of the BC CDC, Government of Canada and the World Health Organization.

Current as of April 6 at 3:30 pm.

How is BIM supporting local businesses deemed essential services?

We’re working with local businesses to find innovative ways we can support them during this difficult time. So far, we have arranged to provide the following supports:

  • Helping the General Store manage line ups and physical distancing requirements
  • Helping the Building Centre manage traffic for propane purchases
  • Helping coordinate child care for essential service workers at the Pharmacy and Bowen Vet
  • Procuring and delivering hand sanitizer to the grocery stores, Pharmacy, and Bowen Vet

The Community Economic Development Committee’s Business Engagement Working Group is hosting weekly online sessions to support businesses. These Zoom meetings are called "Bowen Business Meet Ups." Thank you to our CEDC volunteers for coordinating this outreach initiative to help our local businesses through the pandemic.

Current as of April 2 at 12 pm.

How long does the virus live on surfaces?

According to Health Canada, it is not certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Preliminary information on COVID-19 suggests that the virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on different conditions.

Current as of April 2 at 12 pm

Last Updated on 2020-04-09 at 8:21 AM