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City of Edmonton expands state of emergency; bans garage sales

City of Edmonton bans garage sales, renews local state of emergency after much debate
During the weekly emergency advisory committee meeting, City of Edmonton council agreed to ban garage sales this summer and after a lengthy debate, renewed the local state of emergency for another week. Sarah Komadina explains.

The City of Edmonton has expanded the state of emergency for another seven days and announced new restrictions, that include banning garage sales, to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A decision on whether to renew the state of emergency must be made on a weekly basis.

The city announced Wednesday that all garage sales, regardless of duration, will not be permitted over the summer.

It said the decision was made to limit gatherings of over 15 people and to align with the provincial closure of non-essential businesses.

Any Edmontonian who operates a garage sale this summer will receive a warning and could also be subject to a fine of $488 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000.

The city suggested that those looking to sell items should move to an online format through buy-and-sell websites.

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Mayor Don Iveson and interim city manager Adam Laughlin were initially set to hold a news conference Wednesday on the city’s response to COVID-19 following the weekly city council emergency advisory committee meeting, but that update was cancelled just before 6 p.m.

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The agenda for the committee Wednesday included a private session focused on the job situation for city employees.

At the end of March, over 2,000 city employees were given temporary layoff notices.

Community gardens will be permitted with new rules

On Wednesday, the city announced it was planning to expand the community garden program over the summer. It also announced new guidelines around community gardens to ensure people can stay safe while participating.

Those include:

  • all participants must comply with Alberta Health rules around COVID-19, including isolating if they are symptomatic, travelled or have tested positive. These public health orders apply to all public areas, including community gardens.
  • all picnic tables and public benches within the garden area must be taped or roped off.
  • gardening groups are expected to create and document a garden access plan that allows for proper social distancing and sanitation rules for the garden. The full garden access plan rules are available here.
  • put up signage, provided by the city, outlining COVID-19 gardening rules.

The city also said it would be supporting temporary community gardens on public land through COVID-19.

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The city said Wednesday it would also still be running the Capital City Clean Up program.

It said participants can request the kits through local community leagues and should follow the COVID-19 measures put in place by Alberta Health as they participate.

READ MORE: Edmonton lays off over 2,000 staff at city rec centres, public libraries due to COVID-19

City council is also set to meet Monday to discuss the budget. 

This week, Alberta’s United Conservative Party government said it is considering the unprecedented step of allowing cities throughout the province to run deficits as they battle the pandemic and its subsequent financial impact.

READ MORE: Alberta government considers allowing cities to budget for deficits amid COVID-19

The last COVID-19 response update the city gave was on April 16.