The province is using its new emergency powers to launch a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says under the Emergency Program Act he will initiate a strong and coordinated response across all levels of government.

Local councils will be able to speed up decision making.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says councils have the option to use a single meeting to introduce and approve a bylaw, but he doubts that authority will be used for anything other than urgent COVID-19 related bylaws.

Siebring says the stronger bylaw enforcement powers being given to municipalities will help deal with those who contravene health directives to close or limit the number of people, but he says municipalities still need to hear additional details.

He also wants a better idea of exactly what is considered an essential and non-essential business, or service.