The City of Edmonton is implementing stricter physical distancing measures, including additional closures and cancellations at parks and playgrounds, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately it seems like some Edmontonians just aren’t getting the message about this,” Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin said in a press conference Tuesday. “So I would like to reiterate it again, if you choose to go outside, please ensure that you have two metres between yourself and others. This applies to absolutely everyone – from walks on city trails to your local grocery store.”
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Infrastructure at parks, including playgrounds and skate parks, will be closed and barricaded.
In addition, Laughlin noted that sledding hills will be closed, maintenance on cross-country ski trails will be discontinued, and the city will be reducing picnic site capacity by removing picnic tables in parks.
“Parks and access to the River Valley and trails and staircase remain open to the public, with a plea that physical distancing and proper hygiene must be followed when using these facilities,” said Laughlin.
“The city will monitor these public spaces and, if needed, we will take further actions through an order in terms of enforcement.”
Laughlin noted that a number of in-person service centres for the City of Edmonton were closed last night, including the Edmonton service centre located in the Edmonton Tower, The Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board front counter, and the Reuse Centre.
The Animal Care and Control Service Centre will remain open by appointment only.
“All service centre employees are currently working from home to ensure that Edmontonians’ needs are still met when it comes to the services they provide,” said Laughlin.
In addition, Laughlin announced that service will be suspended on ETS Route 747 for use by all travellers, effective Wednesday morning.
“This includes travellers that have landed at the international airport, as well as travellers heading from Century Park transit centre to the airport,” said Laughlin.
“Route 747 will remain operational as a charter service for people who work at the airport or in the vicinity. This service adjustment is aligned with protecting the public and transit operators while supporting those who work in and around the airport, and it supports the governments directive to immediately self isolate when returning from abroad.”
At this time, Laughlin said the city will continue to monitor the situation.
“Under the State of Local Emergency, there is the ability to provide some orders related to whatever enforcement we need to see. We’re going to monitor and we are going to respect [that] Edmontonians will honour this request, but if we see folks that aren’t, we will take steps on an enforcement side.”
Laughlin says the city is in talks with other municipalities to see how enforcement would look, but at this time, he is urging the public to practice physical distancing.
“People at a low risk of being sick are still at a high risk of spreading the virus,” said Laughlin.
Keep up with COVID-19 news here.