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As buildings empty, Downtown Business Association asks Edmonton police for more patrols

A pedway entrance in front of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, at the corner of Jasper Avenue and 100 Street in downtown Edmonton on August 12, 2019.
A pedway entrance in front of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, at the corner of Jasper Avenue and 100 Street in downtown Edmonton on August 12, 2019. Scott Johnston, Global News

The Downtown Business Association is calling for the Edmonton Police Service to do more patrols in the city’s pedway system now that things have gotten very quiet with workers vacating office towers and opting to work at home.

“We have heard [of], and are starting to see… more issues arising in the pedway system and in buildings — both public and private areas,” said DBA executive director Ian O’Donnell. “That is of some concern to our building owners and users.
“We want to make sure that people that aren’t supposed to be in these buildings [aren’t],” he told Global News in an interview.
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READ MORE: Calgary police upping patrols amid COVID-19 pandemic

O’Donnell said he expects that things will get even more quiet if the Alberta government follows the lead of Quebec and Ontario, where non-essential businesses have been ordered to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Watch below: (From March 23, 2020) While social distancing and staying home continues to be the message for Albertans, businesses are trying to navigate the new normal. As Lisa MacGregor reports, some business owners are in a tough spot when it comes to staying open or not.

Edmonton mall still open, but few businesses operating inside
Edmonton mall still open, but few businesses operating inside

“Certainly it looks like that’s going to be the way that things will be going at some point here in the immediate future,” he said.

“It’s the best practice that we’ve seen across Europe to stop the spread, and so I think it’s a matter of time before it gets here.”

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As troubling as the growing trend of cases of COVID-19 continues to be, O’Donnell said he doubts Edmonton will see the day where storefronts are shuttered with plywood to avoid vandalism.

“I think that’s more pronounced in the [United] States,” he said.

“I’m not sure that building owners and businesses are going to go down that path.”

READ MORE: RCMP to ramp up patrols in Red Deer’s business areas amid ongoing COVID-19 crisis

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks down the empty streets of downtown Edmonton as people stay in to protect against getting the COVID-19 virus, in Edmonton on Sunday March 22, 2020. .
A pedestrian wearing a mask walks down the empty streets of downtown Edmonton as people stay in to protect against getting the COVID-19 virus, in Edmonton on Sunday March 22, 2020. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
A pedestrian wearing a mask walks down the empty streets of downtown Edmonton as people stay in to protect against getting the COVID-19 virus, in Edmonton on Sunday March 22, 2020. .
A pedestrian wearing a mask walks down the empty streets of downtown Edmonton as people stay in to protect against getting the COVID-19 virus, in Edmonton on Sunday March 22, 2020. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson