Uber Canada will require passengers and drivers to wear face masks starting next week 

Uber Canada says that, after they have been urging people to stay home for the last two months, they will be introducing new safety measures as restrictions are lifted.

Most notably, passengers will be required to verify that they are wearing a face mask before being allowed to get in an Uber.

Before every trip, riders must confirm that they’ve taken precautions like wearing a face cover and washing or sanitizing their hands.

They must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation.

The company has also reduced the maximum suggested number of passengers for an UberX ride to three from four.

Drivers will also be required to follow different procedures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Before a driver or delivery person can go online, they will be asked to confirm, via a new Go Online Checklist, that they’ve taken certain safety measures and are wearing a mask or face cover,” Uber Canada explained.

“Our new technology will verify if the driver is wearing a mask by asking them to take a selfie.”

After Uber verifies that the driver is wearing a face covering, the passenger will be notified in a in-app message.

Additionally, both the driver and the passenger will have the right to cancel a trip without penalty if they feel unsafe – for example, if one party is not wearing a face mask.

The new protocols will come into effect on Monday in Canada, the United States, Latin America, India and most of Europe, and will be in place until the end of June.

Uber says that they have secured 23 million masks so far for their drivers and delivery people around the world, and they’ve allocated $50 million to purchase supplies like more masks, disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizer and gloves.

Indoor plant care 101

Indoor plants and succulents are so popular now, with gardeners and non-gardeners alike – so as Kelowna’s garden experts, we naturally get lots of questions!

They are popular because they have so many benefits – they can bring life and style to any room, remove toxins in the air and pump oxygen into any space.

We want you set up for success with your indoor plant, so we are sharing some important rules of green thumb on how to take care of it!

There are three major things to do in order to keep your indoor plant happy and healthy:

Water it as needed

Most indoor plants prefer regular watering, but there are exceptions. Sticking to an exact, precise watering schedule can actually do more harm than good.

What’s the rule of green thumb? For most plants, just water when the soil is dry. Use your fingers to determine the soil moisture levels and water if the soil is dry 2 inches deep (not just on the surface). Consider investing in a moisture meter – these are very helpful with house plants, especially the larger ones.

Another tip: the best time to water is in the morning! Watering before the sun shines in full force allows the plant to absorb more water.

Fertilize it

Additional nutrients from fertilizer is critical for the vitality of your plant. Think about it as a vitamin or mineral supplement for your plant! Select a fertilizer suitable for your plant and follow the instructions on the fertilizer package.

Another thing to remember – recently potted plants and low-light plants will require less fertilizer!

Location, location, location is everything

Plants are generally happy where you are – in warm, consistent temperatures, in the sunlight.

Generally, the more sunlight the better. Some plants tolerate light away from windows, but as a rule, no plant should be farther away than six feet from a window. Another way to think about this is to try to create a plant’s natural environment.

Succulents and cactus live in the desert, so they prefer to be in direct sunlight. Ferns come from the forest, so they need high humidity and less light. Our staff can find you the right plant for the location you have in mind.

At Bylands we have Kelowna’s best selection of indoor plants and succulents, and experts to help guide you with caring for them! Come see us at 1600 Byland Rd, West Kelowna – just 5 minutes over the bridge!

Okanagan real estate sales plummet 58% in the month of April

As expected, sales numbers for Okanagan real estate took a beating in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board is reporting that sales in April were down 58% compared to the same time period last year.

Following that trend was new residential listings, which declined 41% compared to new listings in March.

However, that correlation between a drop in sales as well as listings means real estate prices have generally remained stable.

“Market activity for this time of year is usually quite healthy,” said OMREB President Kim Heizmann.

“The economy has taken a big shock to the system due to the pandemic and, no surprise, so has the real estate market.”

Industry experts are hopeful the market will begin to emerge from that shock in the coming weeks and months as businesses reopen and consumers resume their normal lives.

The average number of days on market for April clocked in at 89, down 6%.

Although, it should be noted that the OMREB region stretching from Revelstoke to Peachland, that number varies greatly depending on sub-region.

Avoid boating for pleasure on Osoyoos Lake

A number of people took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend to get out on their boats on lakes across British Columbia.

However, the Osoyoos RCMP and Osoyoos Fire Rescue are asking people to hold off on boating for pleasure at this time.

Non-essential travel, whether it be by car or boat, should still be avoided, they say.

“We know the increase of pleasure boating comes with the increased chances of emergencies on the water,” said Dave McMahon, fire chief.

“So while it may be permitted, we ask that you consider the risks you are putting our first responders in. Avoid non-essential boating, stay close to home to save lives.”

<who>Photo Credit: RCMP

Photo Credit: RCMP

An RCMP release says that if someone has COVID-19 and ends up needing to be rescued, they could pass along the virus to first responders and prevent them from responding to other emergencies.

Sgt. Jason Bayda says the RCMP has also received a lot of inquiries regarding crossing the border while boating on Osoyoos Lake, which he says is against the rules right now.

“There is a temporary restriction on all non-essential travel, including tourism and recreation, at the Canada-United States border, including via international waters,” Bayda explained.

“This means pleasure boaters are currently not permitted to cross the international border on Osoyoos Lake.”

Mayor Sue McKortoff says she agrees with the provincial health officers recommendations to stay home and stay safe and that Osoyoos looks forward to welcoming visitors once it’s safe to do so.

Partial return to class for K-12 students

A Message from the Central Okanagan Public Schools Board of Education

These are uncertain times. As we follow directions from the Province of BC regarding the resumption of some form of in-class instruction, we share our community’s concerns about another major shift.

We know we can face the next challenge because of how your courage and dedication helped us get through these last weeks.

School will not look like it did before the pandemic, but safety remains the top priority in all our decisions. The final weeks of the school year will be preparation for how school may look in the fall. This preparation is essential to ensuring we can safely deliver face-to-face education going forward.

<who>Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools</who>

Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools

We are currently in Stage 4 of the Ministry of Education’s measured approach to phasing in a return to learning in classrooms no later than June 1st. When the Ministry announces a date for return to in-class instruction, we will move to Stage 3, which includes:

  • In-class learning for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 on a part-time basis.
  • Access to in-class learning as needed for Grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis.
  • Remote and online learning for some students.

If learning in-class works well for families, we will welcome children to safe classrooms. Parents may choose to keep children at home and some online education will be provided to those students. We will continue to update you on emerging details as they become available.

<who>Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools</who>

Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools

By following the Province’s directives and strict guidelines for health and safety, we are confident that staff and students will be safe, comfortable, and ready to learn in our schools. For those who have health challenges or other concerns about returning to schools, the District will continue to consider each individual circumstance.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education is immensely grateful for the hard work of all staff, everyone’s patience, and the kindness we witness throughout our community. Together we will navigate through this next shift in education.

For more information and the latest updates, please visit sd23.bc.ca.

<who>Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools</who>

Photo Credit: Central Okanagan Public Schools

Board of Education – Trustees

Moyra Baxter, Norah Bowman, Rolli Cacchioni, Chantelle Desrosiers, Julia Fraser, Amy Geistlinger, Lee-Ann Tiede

2020 Design Trends

Not only are we entering a new year, but also a new decade; a whole new reason for a fresh start.

Modern Farmhouse designs have been very popular for years, and while clients still love this look, I see a shift going towards more of a Scandinavian Farmhouse.

If you’re building, renovating or simply wondering what will be the hottest trends in interior design, I have come up with how to achieve this look and what I think will be the design trends of 2020.

Goodbye Grey, Hello Brown?

Okay, so brown may be a stretch, but the decade of grey seems to be on it’s way out and warm, calming neutral and earthy brown tones are on the horizon.

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Over the years, my style has become much more minimal and edited. I used to love stuff galore – and while I still have an affinity for special things (and always will), now I let pieces shine and homes breathe by selecting timeless pieces and fewer of them. We brought this mentality to this client’s foyer and I’ll be bringing it to the shop launching soon. I’ve carefully curated and hand selected vintage and new items to help you create thoughtful vignettes and moments in your home that make you smile. I can’t wait for you to shop! . What is something you’re hoping I’ll stock in the shop? . . #tld #tiffanyleighdesign #tldcurated #tldathome #torontodesigner #foyerdesign #currenthomeview #lindsayhillloves #idcoathome #smmakelifebeautiful #lonnyhome #ruedaily #annieselkie #dashandalbert #roundmirror #consoletable #sodomino

A post shared by Tiffany Leigh (@tiffanyleighdesign) on

Beauti-Tone released their colour of 2020 called “Honey I’m Home” and it’s a warm golden hue creating a space that is comfortable & calm.

I predict the designs for my clients in 2020 will still focus on whites, but the tones will be warmer and be complemented with these new earth tones. If you’re still loving grey, warm greys will work well with the earthy tones.

Texture & Natural Fabrics

From fabric and upholstery to organic pottery, accessories will have lots of texture for interest and be made of natural fibers.

These pieces will help blend in the warm, earthy tones.

Light, Warm Wood

While this has been a classic in Europe, we started seeing the start of this back in 2019 in North America.

Magazines, show homes and Pinterest have been showing hardwood flooring, kitchen cabinets and furniture in a light, warm brown stain.

These wood tones will become more and more popular in the next few years. It is classic, timeless and go with several different design styles.

Less is More

“Buy less, choose well” – Vivienne Westwood.

Scandinavian design has always allowed open spaces allowing the structure to be part of the decor. Don’t fill every nook and cranny with accessories and useless pieces just to fill space.

Incorporating vintage pieces, re-finishing cabinets and reupholstering is not only good for design but also for the environment. Consumers, clients and designers will be more conscious

of what items they are bringing into their home, therefore supporting local businesses, buying quality over quantity in investing in sustainable pieces of furniture will be the way of decorating this year, and hopefully the future.

Matte Black

Black is back and is a great contrast against the warm whites and earth tones. Although black has always been a staple, more of it will show up in railings, hardware and furniture.


Let There Be Light

Floor to ceiling windows, walls of glass and skylights – natural light is going to be a must in builds and renovations. Direct or indirect light is calming,

2019 was the year of the Modern Farmhouse; with few subtle changes I forsee 2020 to be a minimal and edited version with designers and consumers being conscious of decor and design.

Courtney Ungaro is an interior designer living in Kelowna and has been working on both residential & commercial projects around the beautiful Okanagan for over 12 years.

She has recently started her own company Courtney Ungaro Space + Design specializing in residential & commercial design as well as creative event styling.

If she’s not on a job site or shopping for the perfect piece you can probably find her supporting a locally owned restaurant/brewery/winery with her husband and kids. Follow her projects on Instagram @courtneyungaro_spaceanddesign.

BC Parks ‘actively working on a reopening plan’ but the timeline is unclear

Since BC shut down all its provincial parks on April 8, the weather has improved and people are itching to get out into nature.

There are still plenty of places that BC residents are able to do that, but BC Parks will remain closed for a little while longer.

<who>Photo Credit: BC Parks

Photo Credit: BC Parks

In a statement emailed to NowMedia, BC Parks said it was “actively working on a reopening plan for the weeks ahead when it is safe to do so.”

“We know restricting access to parks has been challenging and we want to thank people for their cooperation and patience during these unprecedented times,” the statement said.

At this time, there’s no timeline on where the current park system closure will be lifted and it’s expected to happen in a phased approach.

There are more than 1,000 parks and protected areas under BC Parks jurisdiction, making it a very large and complicated task.

The differences between remote wilderness to large, busy campgrounds means that each situation must be assessed and evaluated separately to determine the best timeline and method to reopen.

<who>Photo Credit: BC Parks

Photo Credit: BC Parks

According to BC Parks, opening parks safely means that certain closures may have to remain in place, whether that means specific park areas, services or facilities.

The park operator staff for BC Parks will be a big part of the discussion, especially when it comes to establishing clear safety and cleaning protocols to protect both staff and visitors.

Regional district and neighbouring communities will also be a part of the discussion and BC Parks will make sure they’re informed throughout the process.

“We know these changes are difficult for people, but it’s important to remember that this is temporary,” said the statement from BC Parks.

“The actions we take today are critical for stopping the spread of COVID-19 and will impact the weeks and months ahead.”

Emergency funding made available to Okanagan College students

British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has announced a $5-million emergency aid investment for students across the province.

Of that total, $140,000 is available for domestic students and $48,000 is available for Indigenous students at Okanagan College.

Okanagan College@OkanaganCollege

Emergency funding for Indigenous students can be used for living expenses, groceries, transportation, school expenses and more. More info at: http://okanagan.bc.ca/emergencyfunding 

See Okanagan College’s other Tweets

“Students and their families in the Okanagan are in a time of financial insecurity like we have never seen before,” said Alex Starker, chairperson of the Okanagan College Students’ Union.

“This investment in emergency funds will help to ensure rent can be paid and food can be on the table during these troubling times.”

Students often rely on precarious, low-wage jobs with limited shifts as they balance their school load with their work life and are highly represented in industries that have been forced to issue layoffs during COVID-19.

The summer is often a time where these students can take advantage of a full-time job for a few months to stockpile funds for the school year, but that’s now an unlikely option as well.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia

Photo Credit: NowMedia

Funding from the provincial government and an additional $15,000 in funding that the Students’ Union has committed to will go a long way to helping these college students in their time of need.

“With layoffs, physical distancing, and classes suddenly being completed online, students and their families have a lot to worry about right now,” said Starker.

“Providing additional relief will go a long way to help those in need be able to stay focused on being successful in their studies.”

Funding at Okanagan College and the province’s other 24 public post-secondary institutions will be administered through each school’s financial aid office.

VIDEO: Don’t ask your hair stylist to cheat for you

Kelowna City Councillor and hair salon owner Loyal Wooldridge said he’s been asked, but the answer has to be “no”.

Clients and friends have requested special visits, but he said cuts and styles aren’t worth giving up on physical distancing efforts.

“Everyone is stuck in that flux right now,” said Wooldridge. “Like what do I do with my hair.”

He said some hairstylists and barbers are doing tutorials on social media on how to style their own hair while it grows out.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

Photo Credit: NowMedia

“Some are actually teaching how to cut your own fringe,” he said, “or trim up that neck hair on the back of your neck.”

But some customers and friends have been reaching out to try to skip the physical distance and get a personal appointment.

<who>Photo credit: Contributed </who> Mike Fraser, Mike's British Repairs

Photo credit: Contributed
Mike Fraser, Mike’s British Repairs

“I’ve had a few people contact me personally,” said Wooldridge.

“I think it’s important to realize not to put pressure on professionals to come do your hair at home or to come into the salon just one on one. We really do have to respect the provincial medical health officer.”

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who> Loyal Wooldridge

Photo credit: NowMedia
Loyal Wooldridge

There is one simple solution he offered up. “Opt to do a look like I have,” suggested the bald-headed politician and stylist, “and get rid of it all.”

West Kelowna, Peachland businesses reduce hours, services while others close completely

Closed till further notice
The Westside HomeSense store is closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

West Kelowna, the Central Okanagan regional district, Peachland and the Central Okanagan School District have closed playgrounds.

West Kelowna’s sports fields, tennis and pickle ball courts also remain closed until further notice; however parks and trails remain open with reminders to use social distancing.

Peachland is also asking the public not to use public benches, picnic tables and other hardscape surfaces.

Two Eagles Golf Course is closed to the public.

Shannon Lake Golf Course is closed until further notice.

The COIVD-19 pandemic is causing more stores to close as people are urged to stay at home.

EB Games Canada has closed its stores; however, people can order online at EBGames.ca.

Winners, HomeSense and Mark’s have closed.

Home Depot remains open with reduced hours, now closing at 6 p.m.

London Drugs stores will be open only to seniors and people with disabilities from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday to Friday and will closed weekdays at 9 p.m.

For now, it will be regular store hours on the weekends. London Drugs has set up a dedicated resource to help seniors on a one-on-one basis. Caregivers and family members can email SupportSeniors@LondonDrugs.com if they know of a family member who might be isolated and in desperate need of any essential items or medications.

Value Village retail locations are closed until April 6.

Home Hardware in West Kelowna has introduced no-touch shopping. Customers can order online at homehardware.ca and drive to the store when contacted. Call the store from the parking lot and staff will place the items in their trunk.

The Westside Canadian Tire store is open with reduced hours, now 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the auto centre is closed.

Byland’s Garden Centre has closed to the public until the end of March, but will be processing orders by phone or email which can be picked up outside the store.

TD Bank has closed some branches during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the branch at 501 – 2330 Highway 97 is open with limited hours — Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed Sunday.

Residents who missed getting an Okanagan Regional Library card to access materials online before branches closed can register for a ecard at orl.bc.ca/using-the-library/E-card-station. New member signup only.

Personal service establishments such as barbershops, nail estheticians, health spas and tattoo shops are closed by order of the provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Henry also ordered restaurants to close to dine-in guests and move to take-out and delivery service only.

The order has seen some restaurants close entirely, including Wings West Kelowna, the Lost Horn Mediterranean Grill, Blu Saffron Bistro, 19 Okanagan Grill at Two Eagles Golf Course and Courses at Shannon Lake Golf Course

Other restaurants have adapted to pickup and delivery.

Kelly O’Bryan’s is offering discounts for curbside pick-up or delivery noon to 8 p.m People can also add singles of beer ,coolers and ciders to their order.

Il Mercato Social Kitchen offers takeout and delivery from 4 to 8 p.m. and can also deliver wine with orders.

Bamboo Chopsticks, Kojo Sushi, Original Joe’s, Everest Indian and Nepalese Restaurant, Ginza Sushi, Sammy J’s Grill and Bar, West Sakura Teriyaki, Mr. Mozzarella Pizza and Wings and Murray’s Pizza offer pickup and delivery.

Pizzamoreh offers a drive-thru pickup window for takeout or delivery on dispatchninja.com. People can also order alcoholic beverages with their meal.

Bliss Bakery has closed its Peachland and Carrington locations, but its kitchen on Stevens Road remains open for take-out, including bread and desserts, frozen soups and entrees

According to the Peachland Chamber of Commerce, Ship’s Ahoy , Dragon Lotus, A & W and Subway offer take out. Peachland Sushi , Basil Leaf and Murray’s Pizza offer take-out and delivery. All other Peachland restaurants are closed.