Regina cancelling parking tickets issued to health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'City of Regina gives update on COVID-19 response' City of Regina gives update on COVID-19 response
Regina City Council is meeting Friday to discuss an action plan for dealing with utility bills, transit and parking enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Allison Bamford explains – Mar 19, 2020

The City of Regina says they will relax bylaw enforcement around Regina General Hospital following “significant concern raised by health care professionals” who work there.

Several health care workers expressed their frustrations on social media after a bylaw officer had issued tickets to staff who are facing additional pressures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

One registered nurse shared a photo on social media of two parking tickets they received. In a post circulating on Facebook, the nurse said they chose to drive and not shuttle to work following messages from the city and the government asking residents to socially distance themselves to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: City of Regina says it isn’t shutting down public transit amid coronavirus

“Step up city of Regina. I am doing my part to contain this virus, now it’s time to do yours and not penalize us for doing so,” reads the post.

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On Thursday, the city issued a press release saying they will cancel all parking tickets — that are non-safety related — in the area surrounding the Regina General Hospital, that have been issued since March 13.

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“We have heard the concerns raised by staff at the General Hospital,” said Mayor Michael Fougere in a statement.

“We recognize that these are unusual circumstances and health care professionals are more limited in their movement than ever and we need to respond in kind. We thank them for their hard work combatting the virus and helping to keep Reginans safe and healthy.”

The city says no parking tickets have been issued for time zone violating in the General Hospital area since the province announced its state of emergency on Wednesday.

City council will review additional parking enforcement considerations at a special meeting on Friday.

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As for now, tickets will still be issued for people parking in front of fire hydrants, too close to corners or those blocking a driveway.

READ MORE: Regina takes action against COVID-19, closing all recreation facilities and libraries

Parking around the Regina General Hospital has been an issue for several years. Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan government said they will explore the possibility of a privately-built parkade to accommodate the need for more parking space.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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