The Provincial Government has identified May 14 as the potential start date of stage one of the COVID-19 Relaunch Strategy, but many details about how municipalities fit into this strategy are still unanswered. As the City of Lethbridge continues to seek clarity, residents should not expect to see any major changes to the status quo come Thursday.
"I know a lot of residents were looking forward to May 14 as a day when we might start to move towards a more normal state in our city," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "The reality is, we still have not received clear direction and until which time we do, many of our closures will remain in place."
In the Provincial Relaunch Strategy, stage one was identified to begin as early as May 14, but that each stage would require careful evaluation in consultation with health experts. With many measures still in place such as mass gathering and social distancing restrictions, the City of Lethbridge continues to exercise caution to protect the health and safety of the community.
"We can't stress enough how important it is to continue to wash your hands, stay home when you are sick and stay two metres from others," says Marc Rathwell, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Lethbridge. "We are going to have to take slow and cautious steps in the reopening of services in our City and that will require the collective efforts of everyone."
Since the Relaunch Strategy was released April 30, the City's Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) has been meeting with City departments and leaders to identify what could re-open, at what stage and what resources would be required. Through these planning meetings, the ECC is gathering questions and taking them forward to the Provincial Government for clarity.
From the City of Lethbridge's perspective, some of the stage one re-openings being examined include: museums and art galleries, summer camps (if operated in City facilities) and additional outdoor recreation such as disc golf, community gardens, tennis, pickle ball and basketball courts and other sporting activities.
At this time, there is no official opening date for these amenities, but plans are being developed and will be announced to the public when the time comes.
Yesterday, the provincial government launch a new website providing workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits begin to reopen and resume operations safely. The City will be reviewing these guidelines and applying them to City operations, if applicable. More information can be found at: https://www.alberta.ca/biz-connect.aspx.
For more information of the City of Lethbridge's response to COVID-19 please visit www.lethbridge.ca/covid19.
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