Calgarians asked to hold on to blue carts after COVID-19 outbreak at recycling facility

Click to play video: 'Calgary asks citizens to hold off on using blue carts as facility closed due to COVID-19 outbreak' Calgary asks citizens to hold off on using blue carts as facility closed due to COVID-19 outbreak
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi asks citizens not to put out their blue carts after a COVID-19 outbreak at the Cascades facility forced them to close. – May 14, 2020

City officials are asking Calgarians to keep hold of their recycled materials as a COVID-19 outbreak at the Cascades Recovery Recycling Facility has temporarily paused the organization’s ability to accept waste.

“We need to interrupt blue bin collection,” Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) chief Tom Sampson said on Thursday.

Sampson added that due to the facility’s inability to accept material, any products collected from blue bins this week will have to go to the landfill.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also noted, that if possible, residents should keep hold of their recycled materials while the facility recovers from the outbreak.

“If it’s not full and you have the ability to hold it for a week, then please do so.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 outbreak at Calgary recycling facility not affecting blue cart program at this point

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During Thursday’s news conference, Sampson also noted that the city will be seeing additional enforcement officers patrolling the streets over the May long weekend.

“You can expect that the activity of our peace officers will be stepped up this weekend,” he said.

“Do not be surprised if our community peace officers give you a ticket for not social distancing.”

Sampson noted that additional officers will also be seen checking in on businesses that have reopened in the city during Phase 1 of the province’s relaunch strategy.

“The public safety task force will be out starting today, and will investigate businesses across the city to ensure orders are being followed,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Calgary changes restrictions on sports' Calgary changes restrictions on sports
Calgary changes restrictions on sports – May 14, 2020

As the city prepares for the long weekend, Sampson also noted the importance of understanding the regulations that are still in place in the city.

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He noted that all playgrounds remain closed in Calgary, however, the playing of sports with family members is permitted. Sampson added that utilizing outdoor recreation facilities with friends is also permitted as long as people aren’t sharing devices.

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“If you’re a family of five, you can go out and play the same sport together,” he said. “But if you’re not in the same family you need to keep two-metre distancing… and participants must not touch same ball or another device with their hands.”

READ MORE: What you can and cannot do in Calgary on May 14 amid Phase 1 of Alberta’s relaunch

Calgary’s news conference comes the same day that Alberta enters the first stage of its relaunch strategy, which will see restrictions gradually lifted.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Wednesday that the restrictions will be eased even more gradually in Calgary and Brooks, Alta.

Nenshi noted that while Calgary did not get much notice that it would be seeing a slower opening process than the rest of the province, he agrees with the government’s decision.

“I do want people to understand that the decision that was made is a public health decision,” he said.

“I’m hearing from Calgarians that most Calgarians agree it was the right thing to do… But I do feel bad for restaurants who were getting ready to reopen.

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“Now we’re in a state where the food is going to spoil over the next 10 days.”

Click to play video: 'Nenshi reacts to province’s delayed reopening in Calgary' Nenshi reacts to province’s delayed reopening in Calgary
Nenshi reacts to province’s delayed reopening in Calgary – May 14, 2020

As of May 14, Calgary will see the reopening and relaunch of the following:

  • Retail businesses, such as clothing stores, furniture stores, bookstores and farmers market vendors
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Daycares and out-of-school care, with limits on occupancy
  • Some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries, which will resume gradually
  • Services offered by regulated health professionals, as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges

Then, on May 25, the province will permit Calgary hair salons and barbershops to reopen in addition to cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars — but only at 50 per cent capacity.

On June 1, the province will permit the following to begin operations:

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  • Day camps, including summer school, with limits on occupancy
  • Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow sector-specific guidance
  • Post-secondary institutions, which will see more flexibility to include in-person lesson delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted

Progression to Stage 2 will be determined by the success of Stage 1, considering health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit cases and infection rates.

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