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Canmore mayor asks visitors to stop stopping in town
CALGARY -- The mayor of Canmore is asking visitors heading to the mountains to not stop on their way through town, as the community works to minimize the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Driving through the mountains to enjoy the scenery is not prohibited by the Government of Alberta, but we need Canmore residents and visitors to make socially responsible decisions," said Mayor John Borrowman in a post to the town's Facebook page.
As of noon on Sunday, Alberta Health has reported only two confirmed cases of the virus in the Canmore area, however with many out-of-towners flocking to the mountains for some fresh air, residents are worried they may have brought more than their hiking shoes with them when they hit the mountain town.
Borrowman told CTV News on Sunday that this weekend marked the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alberta that Canmore saw a steep rise in the number of peope coming into town.
"I'm sure (the visitors) were getting out of the city, they needed to, cooped up in their house all day long," he said.
"And for some reason people may think mountain towns are safe or pure, but we're trying to protect our community."
In accordance with the province's state of public health emergency, all recreation facilities are closed and restaurants that choose to remain open are ordered to operate at 50 per cent capacity. Bars and nightclubs are closed.
However, the closures didn't stop visitors from strolling through the town's streets.
"The hospitality and retail sector have been responding to this situation in a responsible way, following expert advice from the provincial health authorities," Borrowman said. "Most businesses have closed or restricted services to ensure they can manage social distancing requirements."
Borrowman says anyone going outside for a walk, hike or ski, should maintain the recommended two-metre physical distance from others.
Alberta Parks also took to social media this weekend to remind mountain visitors there are no services or amentities available at provincial parks.
"This weekend we noticed garbage, used tampons, diapers, and even human waste next to our facilities! Help us keep parks clean. Whatever you take in, take it back out," the tweet read.