City of Lethbridge prepares for COVID-19

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City of Lethbridge prepares for COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: The City of Lethbridge has closed several facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Quinn Campbell reports – Mar 16, 2020

The City of Lethbridge has issued closures for community facilities as a precaution to protect people from COVID-19.

“We have activated our emergency co-ordination centre and are meeting daily to monitor this fluid situation in our city,” said Mayor Chris Spearman on Monday.

The City of Lethbridge is preparing for COVID-19 by shutting down several facilities now — more could come later.

“We’ve made the decision to close all city recreation facilities and other facilities. These closures are in place until further notice as a precautionary measure and to best minimize the risk to our community,” Spearman said.

For those who have purchased pre-paid passes to the facilities, the city said no decision on reimbursement has been made and anyone who needs to pay bills is encouraged to do so online.

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The city has closed the following facilities:

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  • Fritz Sick, Stan Siwik & Nicholas Sheran Pools
  • Cor Van Raay YMCA at ATB Centre
  • Yates Theatre
  • All arenas including ATB Centre
  • Galt Museum
  • Helen Schuler Nature Centre
  • Lethbridge Library (both Downtown and Crossings Branch)
  • Casa
  • Multicultural Centre
  • SAAG
  • ENMAX Centre

“Given the government of Alberta’s decision to close K-12 schools and licensed daycares, we want to support the intent of these closures and encourage everyone to stay home rather than visiting arenas, pools and other facilities,” Spearman said.

City council voted Monday to continue holding all regular council and committee meetings, but will only focus on essential items. Electronic voting will also be an option for all boards, commissions and committees.

The mayor also asked people not to hoard or panic buy, to think of others and make sure everyone has access to sanitary materials and basic food supplies.

Spearman said if the COVID-19 pandemic escalates and it is warranted, a local state of emergency could be issued in Lethbridge. If that were to happen, some measures to protect consumers would be put in place.

“We do have some powers when we enact a state of local emergency. Most of them are around making sure we don’t have price gouging, things like that,” said Spearman.

“When it comes to the hoarding, we don’t have control over that, so we want to make sure people are monitoring themselves and making some really good choices out there.”

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Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services encouraged residents to follow Alberta Health guidelines, use social distancing and practise proper handwashing as more calls come in for emergency services.

“We are seeing a few more flu-type calls that folks are wanting to be transported to the hospital… We are taking precautions at this time,” said Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services fire chief Marc Rathwell.

The city said transit service will remain available with enhanced cleaning measures in place to protect riders and employees.

Exhibition Park has closed until further notice.

Lethbridge County cancelled its meetings for the foreseeable future and closed its offices, giving people online options instead of in-person.

There have been significant closures throughout southern Alberta. Residents of surrounding communities can check their municipal websites to see what is being impacted locally.

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