Calgary declares State of Local Emergency amidst coronavirus pandemic

Mar 15 2020, 9:55 pm

The City of Calgary has declared a State of Local Emergency amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement, the move is meant “to support the Province of Alberta’s effort to combat” the virus’ spread.

Declaring a State of Local Emergency also allows the City to reduce the capacity of any events and facilities to half of its fire load occupancy, to a maximum number of 250.

The following facilities, effective immediately, are being closed until further notice:

  • The Calgary Public Library
  • All City of Calgary recreation facilities

A number of city-owned facilities that are operated by partners, such as the YMCA, have also been closed:

  • Remington YMCA at Quarry Park
  • Great Plains Recreation Facility
  • Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
  • Brookfield YMCA at Seton
  • Westside Recreation Centre
  • Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
  • Shawnessy YMCA
  • Saddletowne YMCA
  • Cardel Rec South (includes South Fish Creek Rec Association)
  • Vivo Centre for Healthier Generations
  • Genesis Centre (includes NECCS)
  • Trico Centre for Family Wellness
  • Repsol Centre

Grocery stores, airports, shopping centres, pharmacies, and casinos are not affected by this order and will remain open, although some have already declared reduced hours.

Offices and other workspaces are also not included, however, the City of Calgary is “employers to move toward teleworking wherever possible to support physical distancing.”

“Let me be clear: your water will keep running and your power will stay on. Transit will keep operating and if you have an emergency, you can still call 911 for help from fire, police and ambulance,” says Tom Sampson, Director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. “There is no need to panic or worry that you won’t receive essential City services.”

Sampson says that declaring a state of emergency allows for Calgary to “get ahead” of the outbreak “before it becomes very problematic, like [they] have seen in other cities and countries.”

He adds that there is “no need to heard supplies” and that grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and other critical services will remain open.

Alberta closes schools indefinitely

Calgary’s announcement follows earlier news that the Province of Alberta has decided to close schools in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Officials say that effective immediately, student attendance at K-12 schools is forbidden and there is no word on when classes will resume.

Students will be given a final mark and progress to the next grade this September but all provincial exams are cancelled. Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate, although any exams that are necessary for high school students to receive their deploma will continue.

Dr. Deena HInshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said earlier that 17 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the provincial total to 56.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.