Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update to the COVID-19 situation on April 14. (Screenshot/ Facebook City of Victoria – local government).

City of Victoria turns to the arts for COVID-19 update

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said arts, culture and music will ‘carry us through’ hard times

The City of Victoria is thanking its arts, culture and events (ACE) team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with organizing COVID-friendly events, such as an online concert with local artist-in-residence Kathryn Calder, the ACE team is also ensuring that farmers’ markets continue, and that contests go virtual.

In her daily COVID-19 update, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said the 2020 Victoria Butler Book Prize contest was still open, as was a competition for the 8th annual installation of artwork which will be in the Commercial Alley Art Gallery from August 2020 to August 2021. The contest for the art gallery closes on April 14, and can be entered online at victoria.ca.

“Arts, culture and music are the things that will carry us through a hard time,” Helps said.

In addition, Helps gave an update on the shower situation happening on Pandora Avenue, saying that a trailer shower has now been installed to help accommodate the influx of people residing in tents along the 900-block strip. Showers are already operational in Topaz Park where more than 100 people have settled.

ALSO READ: Canada mirrors B.C., giving travellers choice of self-made quarantine plans or hotel stay

Federal updates:

Helps reiterated messages brought forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday morning; Ottawa passed regulations which will allow law enforcement agents to issue tickets to any individual travellers who don’t comply with the federal quarantine act, which requires 14 days of quarantine after travel. Helps said this was reassuring after hearing from B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix that in the past week more than 1,000 people have returned to B.C. after travels.

Additionally, Trudeau indicated that more relief measures will be made available to commercial tenants, though details have not yet been released.

ALSO READ: BC Housing says it won’t report illegal suites as 20,000 apply for rent supplement

“Every time I get one of those emails [from local business owners] I wish we could personally do more, but what we’ve been doing is advocating for small businesses,” Helps said.

Provincial update

Helps said she was grateful to hear that over the weekend Premier John Horgan announced a new arts program called Showcase BC, which will be an online hub for live performances and entertainment. Up-and-coming artists can be eligible for a $500 grant, while established artists could be eligible for a $2,000 grant.

Additionally, the province announced $3 million in funding to libraries to help expand their digital content.

READ MORE: ‘We see your grief’ – B.C.’s total test positive cases top 1,500 as deaths rise to 72

As of April 14, the province announced that there have been three new deaths and 27 new COVID-19 cases.

That brings the total number of test positive cases to 1,517, while deaths are now at 72. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 942 people have recovered.

The total number of cases on Vancouver Island sits at 89.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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