A local COVID-19 helpline has been set up for residents of Ashcroft and Cache Creek who need help finding resources, support, and more. (Photo credit: Facebook)

A local COVID-19 helpline has been set up for residents of Ashcroft and Cache Creek who need help finding resources, support, and more. (Photo credit: Facebook)

COVID-19 info: New phone line connects local residents with support and services

Black Press is providing full coverage of the COVID-19 virus (also known as the novel coronavirus) and how it impacts British Columbians and Canadians. For the latest stories, go to https://bit.ly/2WkxT3A.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and rapidly changing. All information in this article is accurate as of press time (noon on Tuesday, April 7), but could change rapidly and without notice.

Local COVID-19 help line

Do you—or does someone you know—need assistance with local pick-up of groceries, medicines, or other supplies? Do you need mail picked up? Do you need spiritual support or want someone to talk to?

A number of local organizations, governments, and volunteers have come together to offer the COVID-19 help line for Ashcroft and Cache Creek. Residents can call (250) 457-3422 to arrange for local pick-up and delivery of items, find an organization that can help them with what they need, or find someone to talk to.

The phone number is active 24/7 and is staffed by volunteers who have contact information available for a wide variety of services and supports. Help is only a phone call away.

Ash/Cache/Clinton COVID-19 Community Info Board

For continuously updated news and information about businesses, services, and organizations in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek/Clinton area, and how they are being impacted by/responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Ash/Cache/Clinton COVID-19 Community Info Board on Facebook.

Community Income Tax Volunteers

If you have a low income (less than $35,000 a year) and a simple tax return, the Community Income Tax Volunteers are still able to assist you in preparing and filing your 2019 return. There are several volunteers ready to assist you, so if you need help call one of the following people between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Dave (250-457-0491); Chris (250-453-9534); Shirley (250-453-2432); Maryann (1-778-517-0997); or Vivian (250-453-9077).

Inland ferries

Starting April 6 and until further notice, additional safety measures are now in place for the Province’s inland ferry system to help protect the safety of passengers and crew. This includes the Lytton reaction ferry.

The new guidelines have been set by Transport Canada. Under them, passengers boarding inland ferries must remain in their vehicles for the duration of the trip. Walk-on passengers, cyclists, and motorcyclists must remain inside designated zones while in the terminal and while aboard the ferry, and any of these people with symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted aboard the inland ferries.

B.C.’s provincial health officer has ordered British Columbians to avoid all non-essential travel at this time. If travel is essential, check www.drivebc.ca, as busy sailings may experience higher wait times due to reduced passenger limits.

Interior Savings

Effective Monday, April 6 all Interior Savings Credit Union and Insurance offices have shifted their service to phone, online, and by appointment only. Clients are able to reach Interior Savings online, through their Member Service Centre, or you can call your local branch directly.

Employees are able to support clients with almost all their needs over the phone, and can give step-by-step instructions on how to use their online channels. ATMs and Night Deposits remain in service.

In some instances, in-person meetings will still be needed. For those cases, in-branch appointments can be booked.

For information about Interior Savings branch hours (credit union and insurance) and how to contact individual branches, go to https://www.interiorsavings.com/find-branch-atm. If you require immediate assistance, call 1-855-220-2580. To call the Ashcroft credit union branch, call (250) 453-2219; to call the Ashcroft insurance office, call (250) 453-9133.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Government of Canada has launched a program to help Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who have been directly affected by COVID-19. It provides a payment of $2,000 for a four-week period (equivalent to $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.

The support is available for anyone residing in Canada, who is at least 15 years old, has stopped working because of COVID-19, or is eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits; who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and who is or expects to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

Applications for the CERB began the week of Monday, April 6. There are two ways to apply: online with “CRA My Account” or over the phone via an automated phone service.

For information about the program, including how and where to apply, go to https://bit.ly/2XbK2Ik.

BC Hydro

A COVID-19 Relief Fund has been put in place by BC Hydro to help customers who are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides bill relief for residential customers who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19, with customers able to apply for a bill credit of three times their average monthly bill.

Small business customers that are currently closed as a result of COVID-19 measures can apply to have their electricity use charges waived for up to three months. Eligible large industrial customers can apply to defer payment of 50 per cent of their electricity use charges for three months.

The application form and more information on the COVID-19 Relief Fund are available online at www.bchydro.com/covid19relief. Customers have until June 30, 2020 to apply.

The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program allows residential and business customers who are experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak the option of deferring bill payments or arranging for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Call the customer service team at 1-800 BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376) to discuss bill payment options.

Arts online: made in B.C.

The BC Museums Association (BCMA) and Arts BC are excited to announce CultureOnline.ca. This digital portal showcases how the province’s museums, art galleries, artists, and cultural organizations are responding to the COVID-19 shutdowns, through live streaming events, programs, and online resources that allow British Columbians to experience culture from the comfort, and safety, of their own homes.

The website will enable British Columbians to search hundreds of live streams, from arts and cultural organizations and resources for educators and families to tours of award-winning cultural sites from around the province. An up-to-date calendar of events will feature free, by-donation, and paid cultural events, activities, and performances; go to https://cultureonline.ca/ to view the calendar and learn more.

Arts online: far and away

Ever wanted to see a hit theatre show in London’s West End, but can’t be there in person? Now’s your chance, as arts groups in the UK and beyond make available all manner of theatrical events on a variety of platforms, many of them free.

Among the participants are the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Globe Theatre in London, and among the offerings are classics such as The Importance of Being Earnest, several Shakespeare plays including Romeo and Juliet, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s live one-woman show based on her hit TV series Fleabag, Imitating the Dog’s live, real-time stage remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Jesus Christ Superstar (debuting on Good Friday), Funny Girl, and much more. Children can enjoy Whatever the Weather, Snow Mouse, and The Wind in the Willows, and there are acclaimed live productions from France, Canada, Belarus, and more.

For a listing of what’s available and where, go to https://bit.ly/2V8XMAW.