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COVID-19: Changes coming to Calgary services due to health restrictions

People wearing face masks are seen in downtown Calgary. Global News

Several City of Calgary services will see some changes over the weekend as new COVID-19 public health restrictions take effect on Sunday.

The city said Friday that it hadn’t received any written orders from the provincial government, but has been preparing in advance to ensure its various departments are in compliance.

Read more: Alberta’s new COVID-19 measures ban in-person dining, outdoor gatherings; retail to remain open

“We need all Calgarians to be a part of a partnership to keep our neighbours safe and alleviate the strain on our public health-care system,” CEMA chief Sue Henry said.

“Don’t look for loopholes in the provincial rules. Instead, look for ways you can stay home and ways you can limit your contacts. Our golden rule right now is: ‘When in doubt, don’t go out.’”

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Here’s a look at some of the changes Calgarians can expect to see in the next few days:

Recreation closures

All city-operated recreation will close on Sunday, including aquatic and fitness centres, arenas, soccer and arts centres.

The city said credits and extensions will be given to anyone with passes for the days the facilities are closed, and refunds will be automatic for any cancelled programs. The city said there would be a high volume of refunds.

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Outdoor skating

The city’s outdoor skating rinks, including Olympic Plaza, can remain open for public skating and training as long as users follow public health orders.

Skating at Olympic Plaza is limited to 100 skaters at a time, and skate times are limited to one hour, the city said. If the rink is at capacity, people are asked to wait in line.

Read more: ‘Nobody loves a house party more than COVID’: Alberta launches new ad campaign

People are encouraged to keep two metres distance from other skaters and wear a mask.

As ice conditions are weather-dependent, any users of any public outdoor rinks are encouraged to check signs for any closures.

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City winter firepits

New bookings for the city’s outdoor firepits are not being processed, however, those who already have permits can still use them. Firepits are only to be used by people from the same home.

The city-provided firewood will only be made available to those with a permit until Dec. 23, the city said.

Plus-15 Network

The network of Plus-15s across the city will be closed as of Sunday, a closure which is expected to last until Jan. 12.

City office changes

The city’s fair entry counter at Village Square Leisure Centre will be closed as of Sunday, so those looking to purchase a low-income transit pass are advised to go to the following locations:

  • City Hall Cashiers – 800 Macleod Tr. S.E.
  • Transit Customer Service kiosks (limited in-person capacity)
  • Centre Street Platform – 125 7 Ave. S.E.
  • Bow Parkade – 234 7 Ave. S.W.

The Youth Employment Centre will be closed to any in-person appointments as of Monday, and people are encouraged to make online or telephone bookings. Appointments can be made by calling 403-268-2490.

Read more: Calgary’s coronavirus New Year’s Eve to be without fireworks

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The city’s AfterSchool programs are also closing as of Monday, however, people can pick up program kits via curbside pick-up. The packages are available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, at the Bob Bahan Aquatic Centre, Optimist Arena and Thornhill Aquatic Centre.

Resilient responder family support training

The Calgary Fire Department has made its internal Resilient Responder Family Support course available online for free for those whose family and close friends are first responders dealing with traumatic events.

“Family members and close friends can help them maintain good mental health by being aware of the warning signs of mental stress or distress,” the city said.

Read more: Calgary nurse’s post defending front-line workers to ‘internet trolls’ goes viral

Anyone has access to the program, and though it was designed for families of first responders, the city said it works well for families of health-care workers, seniors’ care workers and anyone on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

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