The age-old question of "who let the dogs out?" has finally been answered. In the city's first steps to reopening, they're loosening the restrictions on your doggos and letting them run free. Edmonton's dog parks are off-leash again and it's just the first of many changes to come.
As of Saturday, May 2, dogs are allowed to hang out off-leash in every one of Edmonton's 38 open dog parks, officials announced during a city council meeting on Friday, May 1.
"The city has heard loud and clear that Edmontonians miss their usual practice in the dog parks," said interim city manager Adam Laughlin during the meeting
This is Edmonton's first step in reacting to Alberta's earlier announcement that they'll be opening up a bunch of their services over time, starting on Thursday, March 14.
"Let me be clear. This is one turn of the dial, not the flip of a switch," continued Laughlin.
The changes only apply to the open dog parks, Laughlin stated; they'll be watching how the reopenings go and looking out for people who are not physically distancing or following the rules.
Edmonton's four fenced-off dog parks are still on-leash for now since they're smaller and harder to social distance inside. There's a full list of currently off-leash parks on their website.
Even though the province and city are slowly opening doors, they've both said the process needs to be slow and careful to stop a second wave of infections from hitting.
"We could well see another spike in cases," said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, "and of course the road to stage two and stage three would then take a lot longer."
Laughlin also said they're looking at reopening municipal golf courses and outdoor activities in the coming weeks.
When it comes to a timeline, Iveson said they'll be taking a pretty similar strategy to the province. Alberta's staged approach would see some businesses and restaurants open as early as Mid-may with restrictions.
That means taking it slow and making sure cases aren't going up before loosening more restrictions. That also means that if things aren't going well, they could tighten those restrictions back up again.
"We may make several moves toward relaunch and then recognize that we need to dial it back," said Laughlin.
But for now, the dogs of Edmonton can get back to what they do best.