City of Calgary update on response to COVID-19 – Dec. 3 2020
The City of Calgary continues to maintain essential services during this State of Local Emergency and support efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please see below for the latest updates.
New Year’s Eve fireworks cancelled
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the updated enhanced provincial public health orders including outdoor gathering restrictions, The City of Calgary will not host a fireworks show on New Year’s Eve.
“That’s a tough decision, but a necessary one,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “There are still lots of ways people can mark the occasion while staying safe. Foremost, we encourage people to stay home so they can stay safe and healthy and help slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The City is looking at an alternate and safe way to bring some light to New Year’s Eve for people celebrating at home. Watch for more information coming soon.
“Calgary is a vibrant city renowned for our world-class festivals and events and we realize this decision is disappointing for all Calgarians,” said Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Sue Henry. However, public safety and therefore physical distancing must be our top priority during this second wave of the pandemic. Once it’s safe for Calgarians to gather once again, we’ll work with event organizers to bring amazing events back to Calgary’s streets, parks and venues.”
There are many ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve while adhering to provincial public health orders, including The City’s new community winter fire pits program, outdoor skating, visiting toboggan hills, cross country ski and snowshoe tracks, as well as parks and pathways for winter walking.
With local COVID-19 case numbers continuing to increase and our health care system feeling the pressure, we need to adhere to regulations that help protect citizens. It’s time to move from education to enforcement.
Following recent gatherings, including an anti-mask rally, seven people have been ticketed for violations of the Public Health Act, Calgary’s face-covering bylaw and other regulations. Unfortunately, we anticipate more gatherings and demonstrations in the days ahead and for participants to defy public health orders and bylaws.
“I know there has been much talk in the past several days about enforcement and what the Calgary Police Service is doing, and will do, about those who aren’t abiding by the Public Health Act orders and municipal bylaws,” said Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld. “We hoped education over enforcement would help this situation, but we can no longer take that approach with evidence of soaring COVID-19 cases. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a time and place for discretion; however, those who are blatantly flouting the laws will be ticketed. In the end, this is about public safety and ensuring all Calgarians play a part in flattening the COVID-19 curve.”
Neufeld said safety for both law enforcement and members of the community is paramount. That is why it is not always prudent to issue a ticket at the time of an alleged offence, such as a protest or event when emotions are high. In many instances, tickets are issued in the hours or days after an infraction based on evidence obtained at the event.
As a reminder, the penalty for contravening section 73(1) of the Public Health Act is $1,200 and $50 for failing to wear face covering when required.
Calgary Bylaw officers are in the process of serving two additional tickets under the Public Health Act as well as tickets for bylaw infractions to one individual following events Sunday and Wednesday. He said his team is working closely with the Calgary Police Service to help ensure public safety.
“We’ll continue to focus our enforcement efforts on those individuals who have a clear disregard for the rules and for those who are jeopardizing the health and safety of those around them,” said Chief Bylaw Officer Ryan Pleckaitis. We’ll also continue to work with our partners in CPS to provide them with support as required.”
Pleckaitis said The City is continuing discussions with the Province to expand authoritative powers to all Level 2 Peace Officers.
Support for local businesses
Starting Monday, Dec. 7 through to Dec. 27, The City of Calgary is temporarily removing afternoon peak parking restrictions in three shopping districts to provide support for local businesses during the upcoming holiday shopping season. The three participating areas are the Kensington BRZ, the 4th Street South West BIA and 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District.
This temporary change will allow customers and businesses to complete more pick-ups and deliveries and ensure there are fewer barriers so transactions can be done safely in a way that aligns with public health orders.
That means on weekdays at 3:30 or 4pm, drivers can remain parked if they are in one of the three participating areas where the ParkPlus zone transitions to a ‘No Stopping’ zone. As always, please park safely and ensure that vehicles do not block a fire hydrant, the entry/exit to an alley, driveway or bus zone.
Community Outdoor Fire pits
Our new community outdoor fire pits program is very popular with over 900 requests to book one of the 16 community fire pits, complete with firewood. Bookings can be made one week in advance but due to high demand we are working on a faster system. Watch Calgary.ca for updates. There are also 37 regional fire pits available on a first come/first served basis.