Mayor Colin Basran is not pleased with the over-1,000-person group that protested COVID-19 provincial health mandates, including the implementation of a proof of vaccine program, in front of Kelowna General Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
In an emailed statement, Basran condemned the protests, saying that it has negatively impacted healthcare workers at the hospital.
“These workers deserve everyone’s respect and gratitude,” said Basran. “Our position remains unchanged – we urge residents and visitors to get vaccinated and follow all provincial public health orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in our community.”
Basran referred to the BC Supreme Court’s decision on March 18 to strike down a public health order prohibiting outdoor gatherings for the purpose of public protest, and participants cannot be ticketed or fined.
“While everyone has the right to protest peacefully, the choice of Kelowna General Hospital as the location for yesterday’s event negatively impacted the very people who have been working tirelessly since March 2020 to save lives and help people who have contracted COVID-19,” said Basran.
The mayor noted that the Central Okanagan has been B.C.’s COVID-19 hotspot for the last several weeks and “frustration and fear are running high in our commmunity.”
“Health officials have made it very clear that this pandemic is now one of the unvaccinated. In the meantime citizens continue to lose their battle with COVID-19, front-line workers are exhausted, and businesses continue to struggle.”