City of Calgary update on response to COVID-19 – May 21, 2020
The City of Calgary would like to remind citizens that we remain in a State of Local Emergency. This is to support the Government 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
Requests for temporary patios
As we prepare for the Province’s opening date for Calgary, currently slated for Monday, May 25, Council has announced a new temporary permission for outdoor patios. These temporary patios can be used for retail outlets or restaurants, and allow more space for patrons and staff to maintain physical distances.
As of May 20, The City has received 43 pre-application enquiries for temporary permissions, and requests have steadily increased since Council’s decision to support them on May 11.
A temporary permission will be issued at no cost for an outdoor temporary patio. Existing patios on public lands will not be charged for the 2020 season.
Outside of patios, The City continues to issue permits and conduct inspections so businesses can occupy their premises and prepare for reopening on the dates set by the Province.
Text Message Scam
The City has become aware of a text message scam indicating that The City is offering citizens money “to combat the tragedy of COVID-19.” This text message is not from The City. Please do not respond to this message, and always be aware of unsolicited attempts to obtain personal information about your identity, online accounts, or money.
Public Health Orders were amended by the province on Friday, May 15 to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people.
Under these new orders:
- Small backyard gatherings are permissible, provided AHS orders on physical distancing are respected: this includes staying two meters apart from people not part of your immediate household and you may not share food.
- Visiting parks in small groups is also permissible. Picnic sites are not bookable through Parks at this time, but are available on a first-come, first served basis.
- Access to the river is permissible. Again, physical distancing must be maintained: some small water craft may not be large enough to maintain an appropriate distance. Glenmore Reservoir is currently off-limits due to water levels.
Peace Officers will be patrolling popular outdoor spots this weekend, including the downtown Eau Claire area, where The City continues to see challenges with physical distancing.
Working with AHS, The City has authorized shared electric scooters to return to Calgary this Friday May 22.
Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have been operating bikeshare systems throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These bikeshare systems have been very popular, provided a safe transportation option, and have not been connected to COVID-19 transmission cases. Calgary’s shared electric scooters operate in a similar fashion to bikeshare and have similar risks.
Shared electric scooter fleet numbers will be reduced for the first month of operation. Out of an abundance of caution, the City is limiting each company to operate up to 150 scooters (an 85% fleet reduction from last year) for a period of one month from May 22 to June 22, 2020, with the possibility of increased fleet size depending on whether scooter riders adhere to new public safety guidelines during COVID-19.
Shared e-scooters will not be cleaned after every use: when riding a shared scooter, each rider needs to follow the AHS safety guidelines including:
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after using a shared e-scooter. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wipe down the shared scooter with a pre-moistened disinfectant wipe before and after use. Riders will need to bring their own wipes.
- Avoiding touching of the face during use of a shared scooter
- Observe all physical distancing guidelines when riding – maintain a two-meter distance between riders and avoid contact with others. Double-ridership on scooters is not allowed.
- Be safe and slow down when passing others
The scooter operators (Lime and Bird) are planning to increase the frequency that scooters are cleaned, and will provide an in-app message outlining best safety practices for riding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the coming weeks, we will also be testing new ways to mitigate public safety concerns while expanding access to safe, reliable and equitable mobility options for all Calgarians. These include:
- Share & Go Parking Zones which are painted areas intended to be used as a go-to place to find an e-scooter or to end your ride. Located along pathways and bike lanes, these zones will be painted on the sidewalk or in select repurposed Car2Go microstalls. These zones can accommodate multiple scooters and will be painted in areas where there is high e-scooter use to encourage more considerate parking behavior. The zones will be installed in June and are paid for by the e-Scooter companies.
- Slow Speed Zones for e-scooter riders in areas where there is a higher concentration of sidewalk users. The speed of the shared e-scooter will be automatically reduced to a maximum of 15 km/h, (down from a max. of 20 km/h). These low speed zones are located on 4th Street SW in Mission, 9th Avenue SE in Inglewood, and along 10th Street and Kensington Road in Kensington. Riders are asked to park outside these busy pedestrian areas and walk the rest of the way to their destination.
- New Fines to address safety concerns and deter inconsiderate shared e-scooter rider behavior. All fines related to e-scooters can be found in The City of Calgary Traffic Bylaw 26M96.
For more information on these new changes coming soon visit calgary.ca/scootershare
Last year, over 50% of shared electric scooter trips ended in a Business Improvement Area, showing that people are using the devices to largely access local business, which supports the local economy. As part of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, restaurants and retail stores are anticipated to open up next week and shared e-scooters can help with the recovery effort by providing access to safe and reliable mobility options that allow Calgarians to safely observe physical distancing guidelines while at the same time move around the city as they prepare to reopen next week. Scooter operators have also stated that they are prepared to provide additional scooters to enable free rides for health care and emergency workers.
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