Pent up Calgarians are finally able to get out and hit up their favourite alpine village this summer. However, in order to safely reopen Banff, the town had to make some big changes — like blocking all cars from downtown, for example. But they're welcoming travellers now, and you're free to visit all your favourite shops when they reopen as you wander the car-free paradise.

Banff Mayor Karen Sorenson told Narcity the town is now open to visitors, after blocking tourists with checkpoints earlier in the pandemic. However, you'll likely find an entirely different town than you remember.

For one, they're blocking all vehicles from their main streets between the 100 and 200 blocks — what Sorenson called the "downtown core." The ban will start on Friday, June 5 and end around Friday, September 11.

"It can get very, very busy in the downtown core of Banff on a summer day," said Sorenson. She said the ban will both help people to maintain their distance and drive more traffic to local businesses.

"We believe it is a good way to keep our visitors and our community safe and a good way to help our businesses be as successful as they possibly can be," said Sorenson.

Visitors will be asked to park nearby, about an eight-minute walk away, she continued.

"It's going to be a very different summer in Banff. We're going to look different and it's going to feel different," she said.

Even with visitors coming back, Sorenson said there'll be far fewer tourists visiting the town. Half of their old visitors are international; now they'll be relying on local travellers.

"We're going to depend highly on Albertans and Canadians, and we welcome them and hope they will come visit," she said.

Even though the town itself is open, Sorenson stressed that services in Banff National Park won't be reopening until sometime after Monday, June 1. That date is entirely up to Parks Canada, however, she said.

With most of their businesses already open or nearing an opening date, Sorenson said that they have "missed having visitors and are welcoming people back."

So feel free to explore the charming town, take in the crisp mountain air. She just asks you to be prepared, pack your sanitizer, and of course, try exploring the streets on foot.

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