The town of Banff, Alberta just declared an official local state of emergency in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Banff state of emergency announcement was made on the official Banff website on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. So far, the cities of Calgary and Red Deer are the only other municipalities in the province that have done the same. 

The alert on the official website reads, "The Town of Banff has declared a State of Local Emergency to support the Province of Alberta’s efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic." 

Furthermore, the announcement explains that no businesses or events can have more than 50 people in attendance at any given time. This figure includes both employees and customers. This is effective immediately. 

The alert also explains, that "The Town is imposing restrictions on properties to limit the capacity to 50% of their fire load occupancy, up to 50 people."

These restrictions are in line with the social distancing policy the national and provincial governments have encouraged among the public. 

Banff's brand-new restrictions are not applicable to grocery stores, transit, retail, pharmacies, and health facilities — as of now. 

All dance floors in Banff nightclubs have also been ordered to shut down as part of this new ban, as the Banff government says it would be too difficult to regulate physical distancing. 

Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said in the statement, "Banff is a community built on the hospitality industry. We know this will have a significant impact on businesses in town."

She explained that they "have been in close contact with many establishments who agree that this is the right choice to put the safety of the people in our community as our top priority."

At present, it is not known if Banff National Parks will be affected as part of a national park closure that was announced by Justin Trudeau this morning. 

Calgary was the first city in Alberta to issue a local state of emergency earlier this week, on Monday, March 16.

Red Deer followed suit later that day. 

According to CTV News, Parks Canada, meanwhile, has ordered the shutdown of all national parks to the public, which means visitor services will not be available at this time. The parks will not have any staff working on-site either. 

Narcity has reached out to Parks Canada for comment and we will update this story when we receive a response.

In the alert, Banff's mayor said that she has allocated a task force with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association to collect information on emergency supports announced by the Governments of Canada. 

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