City of Calgary update on response to COVID-19 – May 14, 2020
The City of Calgary would like to remind citizens that we remain in a State of Local Emergency. This is to support the Province of Alberta’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. The City of Calgary, in collaboration with social agencies, the business community, civic partners and citizens, is taking immediate action to respond to COVID-19.
Please see below for the latest updates
City’s reaction to Provincial reopening plan changes
As part of phase one of The Province of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, several businesses opened today in Calgary including retail stores, clothing, furniture and books stores, farmer's markets, some City golf courses, museums and art galleries and daycares.
The Province, however, announced that due to the high numbers of COVID-19 cases in Calgary, restaurants, bars, hair salons and places of worship won't reopen until May 25, more than a week later than expected.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says, while he sympathizes with the businesses that were “ready to go,” he believes The Province made the right decision to protect public health.
“I want to remind people how serious this is. Calgarians have lost their lives – that is something we should never forget. But I understand that this has been a tough week for a lot of people,” he said, adding the most important thing we can do right now is to be kind.
“This includes supporting those businesses, especially restaurants that were expecting to open and now have excess food, he says, “So, I am going to ask you to eat a lot this weekend. Order in. Pick up. And let’s help these businesses out.”
Visiting newly opened businesses
With many businesses reopening under very different circumstances, The City is asking Calgarians to follow a few simple requests before heading out:
- Inform yourself – The Province has released the guidelines on the Alberta Biz Connect website for different businesses and it is important that customers understand them too. Please read up on the rules and regulations for each business before visiting them.
- Prepare yourself - Have masks and gloves handy just in case and bring your own hand sanitizer
“And most importantly, pack your patience. Many of these workers are probably feeling a little uneasy – they want to stay safe and want you, their customers, to stay safe too,” says CEMA Chief Tom Sampson. “Some will require facemasks, or gloves or have very strict capacity rules
If you don’t understand something, ask questions – don’t get upset.”
Some City golf courses open today
Today, The City’s Shaganappi Point, Maple Ridge and the 18-hole course at McCall Lake Golf Course opened after an exceptional response from eager golfers.
As of this morning, we had approximately 4,400 people book tee times and over 4,100 register for accounts which allow them to book tee times this summer.
“We are hearing the golfers are very happy to be out and all are complying with rules. So far, it has been a very positive experience for customers and our staff,” says Chief Sampson, adding, The City will open other courses based on “how these first openings go and our ability to ensure health and safety.”
To learn more about the restrictions and rules for City golf courses, visit Calgary.ca/golf
COVID impacts on The City’s blue cart program
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Cascades Recovery sorting facility, the company has temporarily suspended receiving recyclable materials from The City.
This means temporary impacts on The City’s blue cart program and community recycling depots.
As of May 13, 19 employees from the Cascades sorting facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Cascades is working closely with Alberta Health Services and Occupational Health and Safety in order to take all steps necessary to keep its employees and their families safe. This includes testing of employees and an extensive, deep clean at the facility.
The City will continue to collect materials from blue carts and community recycling depots but we have no viable alternatives but to take those materials to landfill until the sorting facility resumes normal operations.
“If your blue cart is not full, you can choose to hold the materials until your next collection,” says Sampson.
The City is working with Cascades and we are hopeful normal operations will resume next week.
“That could change depending on how things unfold over the next few days. We ask for your patience in these difficult times as we try to keep employees safe and keep providing services for you and your neighbours,” he added.
The City will provide updates through Calgary.ca/bluecart, The City’s Garbage Day app and reminders, and through our social media.
Public Safety Taskforce
Starting today, the Public Safety taskforce will be out to investigate businesses across the city to ensure public health and safety orders are being followed.
As more Calgary businesses start to reopen this week (as part of Alberta’s relaunch strategy) Business Licensing is anticipating higher call volumes from concerned citizens.“We know people are anxious but we need to ask for your continued cooperation in following the public health orders, as it relates to Calgary. If you are a business owner, please familiarize yourself with the Government of Alberta relaunch to ensure you are following the directions appropriately and not opening earlier than you are permitted to,” says Sampson.
Calgarians can report any concerns regarding businesses or lack of physical distancing to 311 and a team will be dispatched immediately.
Long-weekend outdoor activities
With warmer weather expected, Calgary Community Standards have called in additional staff for the long-weekend.
Community Peace Officers and Parks Ambassadors will be patrolling popular outdoor locations that are expected to be busier than normal.
“Skate parks have been a particular challenge in obtaining compliance from citizens,” says Sampson, adding that people will receive tickets if they choose to not follow physical distancing rules.
“While we prefer to only use enforcement as a last resort, tickets will be issued for those not following the public health order,” says Sampson. “This is a tool we will use, that we may need to utilize more moving forward, if people continue to disregard the public health orders.”
In order to help maintain physical distancing, Calgarians are asked to avoid the following parks:
- Sue Higgins Dog Park
- Nose Hill Park
- Eau Claire Promenade and Prince’s Island Park
Playgrounds remain closed
Yesterday, The Province announced that most Alberta playgrounds would be reopening but this does not include Calgary. Given the high-cases of COVID in Calgary, we feel these must stay closed in order to keep our kids safe.
Playgrounds are high-touch points with a limited ability to manage physical distancing and create gathering places for Calgarians outside family units.
“We want to reopen public infrastructure like playgrounds when it is safe to do so as we can appreciate that kids may be getting more antsy with the warmer weather. However, we ask you to respect these closures to protect your family and your community from the spread of COVID-19.”
New outdoor recreation rules
Today, The City announced some changes to the rules around sports training.
Sports training, dryland training and skills practice are now permitted if the following conditions are met:
- Participants must not touch the same ball or other device with their hands.
- A distance of at least 2 metres must be maintained between persons and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure no intentional or accidental physical contact between participants.
- The gathering of more than 15 persons in a group in an outdoor location.
“The critical thing to remember is that no sports are permitted if you have to touch the same ball or equipment as others. And you must stay 6 feet apart unless you are from the same household,” added Mayor Nenshi.
One Day Soon Video
Joni Delaurier, a communications professional who works with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), has release a new music video celebrating Calgary’s spirit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can read more about the creation of the song and the video on The City’s newsroom.
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