City of Calgary update on response to COVID-19 – May 7, 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

Calgary Transit impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on Calgary Transit’s revenue and ridership. We are forced to make the difficult decision of making a significant cut to our current service levels. As of May 25, 2020, we will be reducing Calgary Transit Service hours by 30 per cent from the March 2020 levels.

To make the necessary cuts in service, the entire transit system has been evaluated to ensure we are still able to provide meaningful service to the many Calgarians that rely on us to get to important places like work, the grocery store and medical appointments. These changes will ensure coverage across our city, but there will inevitably be some negative impacts to the customer experience. The upcoming reductions will include:

• Temporarily removing 25 routes

• Reducing the frequency of 30 routes during the weekday

• Reducing the frequency of 19 routes on the weekend

Information about these service changes will be communicated to our customers via our website, service alerts on the Calgary Transit app and on social media.

Unfortunately, these changes will result in impacts to the employment of approximately 430 employees.

Weekend activities

Public safety and enforcement of the Public Health Act are our top priority for the weekend. Calgarians are reminded that Public Health Orders requiring 2 meters of physical distance and no gatherings over 15 people are still in place.

Bylaw officers will be patrolling and will be focused on education and providing verbal warnings to those who are not following public health orders or city bylaws, with ticketing reserved for significant violations.

“We know there are some key areas in the city that we continue to see large crowds, busy parking lots and challenges with maintaining physical distance,” says Deputy Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Sue Henry. “In some cases we have been able to mitigate that by opening road space to pedestrians and cyclists or closing roads altogether. But in some areas those options are not possible.”

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

In addition to these areas, Calgarians are also asked to be mindful of maintaining safe distancing in all skateparks, and to take turns sharing the space with other users. Ambassadors are visiting skateparks to reinforce physical distancing messaging and support safer use of parks during COVID-19.

“Education is our priority but we will move to enforcement and $1,200 tickets if we don’t see safe behaviours,” says Deputy Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency Sue Henry. “If you get out, spread out. Practice physical distancing, to stay safe and help us keep your parks open.”

Price gouging

The City of Calgary, alongside the Government of Alberta, has taken action against an unlicensed business in Calgary allegedly selling masks and hand sanitizer exceeding normal selling price.

Officers from Business Licensing and Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigation Unit conducted a joint operation, after several complaints were received.

In mid-April Service Alberta served a cease letter to the owner and Business Licensing issued a written warning to the same individual as they were operating without a city business license. Later in April, officers returned to the business to find that nothing had changed.

In May, The City issued a violation ticket under the Business License Bylaw ($1,000) for operating without a license. Investigators from Service Alberta also issued a summons to the owner for contravening the previously issued order for price gouging.

“The vast majority of Calgary businesses are selling products at fair market value and helping to support the community through this pandemic,” says Deputy Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Sue Henry. “Thanks to the public, and working alongside our partners, we were able to hold this particular business to account.”

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