On May 2, the City of Edmonton will make its first steps to lift some of the restrictions put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of sunrise on Saturday, those with four-legged family members can once again allow their dogs to be off leash in the city’s 38 open off-leash parks.
“The city has heard loud and clear that Edmontonians miss their usual practice in the dog parks,” interim city mayor Adam Laughlin said.
That does not include the four fenced parks, however. Those were closed due to concerns people wouldn’t be able to properly maintain physical distance.
When those will open will depend on how dog owners do at the parks being reopened this weekend.
“How folks respond to the open dog park areas will also inform whether we advance the fenced dog parks,” Laughlin said.
Though the parks are opening again, Laughlin reminded dog owners that physical distancing restrictions remain in place.
“If you don’t have a dog, please use another park so we can keep our distance and please use caution in the parking lots. It’ll be tempting to want to visit and catch up with friends, but physical distancing requirements are still in place.
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“How well we do at this will drive future decisions that we’re making, or potentially the adjustment to decisions we have made.”
While privately-owned golf courses are allowed to open on May 2, Laughlin said the city-owned courses aren’t opening yet.
Plans to reopen will be examined and city administration will be updating council next week, Laughlin said.
Though the city is beginning to formulate its relaunch plan, Laughlin warned residents this will be a slow, calculated process and there may be steps back if health guidelines like distance and hygiene aren’t followed and there is a spike in cases.
“My message to Edmontonians is: There will be progress, but it will be incremental,” Laughlin said. “But thankfully, there will be progress. “
Mayor Don Iveson echoed those statements in his address.
“Everyone is going to have to be patient as we continue to monitor what’s working and what’s not,” he said.
“If our performance to date is any indication, I have huge confidence in Edmontonians and our organization to do our best work here.”
Iveson said the city will be strained to reopen without support from the provincial or financial government.
He suggested it would be “timely” to introduce new revenue streams to municipalities that would grow as the economy grows in an effort to fully reopen.
“Edmonton is willing and ready to partner with provincial and federal governments to support the relaunch and recovery of our economy,” Iveson said.
“Just as we’ve aggressively taken action to quell the impact of COVID-19 and protect our residents, city council will do everything in its power to get Edmontonians back to work safely and see our local businesses succeed safely.”
Laughlin added these preliminary relaunch plans don’t change the status of the temporary layoff notices issued on Monday. He encourages those who received one to remain in contact with their supervisor for the latest information.
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