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City of Lethbridge will not be opening its facilities on May 14

City of Lethbridge will not be opening its facilities on May 14
While the province has chosen May 14 as the potential start date for a relaunch of the economy, the city of Lethbridge is putting on the brakes. As Taz Dhaliwal reports, Mayor Chris Spearman is asking for more clarity before opening the doors.

The Alberta government identified May 14 as the potential start date for Phase 1 of the COVID-19 relaunch strategy, however the City of Lethbridge says many details about how municipalities fit into this strategy are still unanswered.

“As the City of Lethbridge continues to seek clarity, residents should not expect to see any major changes to the status quo come this Thursday,” Mayor Chris Spearman said during a press conference Tuesday morning.

“We know each stage will require careful evaluation, consultation with the provincial government and health experts,” he added.

READ MORE: Alberta releases business guides for COVID-19 reopening plan

The director of emergency management said they are taking slow and cautious steps in the reopening of services, as restrictions on mass gathering and physical distancing remain in place, along with the recommended usage of personal protective equipment.

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“Our ECC, that’s our emergency coordination centre, has been meeting with every city department to identify how we can reopen and what stages we’ll reopen at and what resources are required,” Marc Rathwell said.

Hinshaw says the province will look at risks and benefits of regional reopening
Hinshaw says the province will look at risks and benefits of regional reopening

He went on to say, during these planning meetings, the ECC is gathering questions and taking them forward to the provincial government for clarity.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to continue to wash your hands, stay home when you are sick and stay two metres from others,” Rathwell said.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Not all Lethbridge salons planning to reopen right away

According to the city, some of the stage one re-openings being examined include:

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  • Museums and art galleries
  • Summer camps (if operated in city facilities)
  • Additional outdoor recreation such as:
    • Disc golf
    • Community gardens
    • Tennis
    • Pickle ball
    • Basketball courts and other sporting activities

At this time, there is no official opening date for these amenities, but plans are being developed and will be announced to the public once a date is known.

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READ MORE: Alberta restaurants ask Jason Kenney for clear rules before they reopen during COVID-19 pandemic

The city is also providing reminders about the upcoming long weekend.

“I would encourage you to make Victoria Day 2020 a little bit different by enjoying these activities only with those in your household,” Spearman said. “It’s important to find ways to connect with loved ones outside your home.”

Alberta announces 1 death, 45 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday
Alberta announces 1 death, 45 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday

The mayor continued to say that technology can be used to connect with others as well, since maintaining some kind of correspondence with loved ones is highly important at a time like this.

When it comes to helping businesses and non-profits reopen and resume operations safely, the provincial government launched a new website on Monday, which provides workplace guidance and supports.

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The city will be reviewing these guidelines and applying them to their own operations as well, if applicable.