COVID-19, also known as the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has been spurring significant changes around the world. In order to increase public caution and safety procedures, a state of emergency has been declared in Calgary. While the current risk of contracting the virus in the city is low, the municipality is taking precautions to monitor the changing situation.
According to a press release posted by the City of Calgary, a State of Local Emergency has been declared in order to “support the Province of Alberta’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.”
The state of emergency will give the city power to reduce the capacity of events and facilities by "50% of their fire load card occupancy."
This declaration comes just days after Canada's first child was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Calgary.
Effective immediately, the city is also ordering the closure of a number of buildings and public facilities, including the public library, any recreational facilities, and all city-owned and partner-operated facilities, like the YMCA.
At this time, the order does not include grocery stores, airports, shopping centres, pharmacies, or casinos.
The City of Calgary also clarified that this does not include offices, although they are asking employers to move forward with teleworking wherever possible.
Alberta Health Services facilities are also exempt from the regulations.
Along with the building closures, council chambers will also "be allowing people who are interested in public hearings to call in" and will enforce distancing in chambers.
All in-person engagement activities will have to be cancelled until April 30.
“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,” said 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.”
Mayor Nenshi also shared a statement in the press release. He said that the decision was important and was not taken lightly by the city.
“I want to remind Calgarians that we need to look after one another. Clean hands, clear heads, open hearts,” said Mayor Nenshi.
A complete list of closed facilities in Calgary is as follows:
- The Calgary Public Library
- All City of Calgary recreation facilities
- All City-owned, partner-operated facilities:
- 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
These include staying one to two metres away from other people, virtual meetings, teleworking, limiting public access, and ghost shifting — which includes one shift of staff completely leaving the office space before the other arrives.