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These are the Metro Vancouver cities that have declared states of emergency
VANCOUVER -- As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 270, several cities in Metro Vancouver have declared states of emergency to combat the virus' spread.
The province has declared its own state of emergency, but establishing one at a municipal level can help cities take local action like cracking down on restaurants that aren't following health recommendations, preventing panic buying or introducing measures to protect homeless residents.
Here are the cities that have declared a local state of emergency.
Vancouver city council voted in favour of declaring a state of emergency at a special virtual meeting Thursday. The motion was passed unanimously.
"Part of these powers will enable us to close all public-serving businesses to assembly service, and remain open only to provide takeout delivery," Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.
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The state of emergency will not have a designated time limit. This is to prevent the need for possible extensions every time the limit is reached.
However, councillors will have the option to call an emergency meeting at any time and call the declaration off.
New Westminster declared its state of emergency on Thursday, with city hall closed to the public as of Friday.
"I am concerned about the local businesses in our community. I encourage people, while practicing social distancing, to find ways to continue to support our local businesses. This will be even more important when we move out of this crisis," said New Westminster's mayor, Jonathan Cote, in a news release.
"Please take care of yourselves, stay vigilant, and strictly follow the guidance from health officials. Show love and support to those around you. If we can do this, I know our community can get through this, together."
Delta declared a state of emergency on March 19, which that city says allows the mayor to take actions in support of the provincial health officer's "verbal order to limit public gatherings and practice social distance."
Under the state of emergency, Delta can take action against businesses that aren't complying with the province's orders.
"These are challenging times for residents and businesses in our community. By declaring a local state of emergency, we have additional abilities to protect the community," said Mayor George Harvie in a news release.
"I have asked our bylaws department to enforce closures on some businesses that are not following the direction of our provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. I continue to work with all of council, staff and senior government officials to protect this community from the impact of COVID-19."
Richmond made a declaration of an emergency during a special council meeting held Thursday. Under the declaration, city hall will be closed to the public for 30 days as of March 23, with the exception of council meetings, public hearings and standing committee meetings.
"These are difficult and unprecedented times," said Mayor Malcolm Brodie in a news release.
"The precautions, closures of facilities and cancellation of programs over the past several days have been made in the best interest and wellbeing of our residents and employees, and through the recommendations and direction of our public health officials. The emergency declaration made today allows council to act quickly and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione