City officials clarify position on parks, playgrounds, sports, camps amid provincial relaunch plan
While Alberta’s Premier announced a bold vision Thursday to reopen the province in stages, Calgary’s mayor said there are still options to explore if some of the activities can reopen in this city.
On Thursday’s briefing Jason Kenney announced a plan “to start a carefully controlled and staged approach to safely reopening Alberta's economy and society and getting Albertans back to work,” with Stage 1 taking effect as early as May 14.
Admitting surprise at some of the activities outlined in Stage 1, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters on Friday that the target of reopening activities is only attainable if residents continue to abide by public health safety measures.
The provincial reopening strategy highlighted “additional outdoor recreation” and “summer camps,” which Nenshi says is worth exploring options.
Calgary continues to be in a state of local emergency, physical distancing at two-metres apart and mass gatherings are still banned.
“It’s going to be very hard to the city to operate the vast majority of our summer camps in that kind of a situation. Maybe there are a few however that might work and that’s exactly the analysis we are doing now,” said Nenshi.
As for sports organizations that operate summer programs, Alberta Soccer says it's working with provincial authorities to come up with guidelines for participants to “return to play.”
“I’m optimistic,” said Shaun Lowther, executive director of Alberta Soccer, “but it has to be done safely.”
He says member organizations will be submitting feedback to the province as early as next week.
Calgary Hockey is keeping registration open for July 1, but has not made a decision regarding the 2020/21 season.
Calgary Sport and Social Club is also standing by for direction from provincial health officials about resuming.
During Friday’s address Calgary Emergency Management Agency officials emphasized that playgrounds, and any sports that share a contact item like a ball are still banned.
“We need to have our foot on the gas and the brake at the same time. We still have approximate 67 per cent of the provincial cases that Alberta has,” said Sue Henry, CEMA deputy chief.
Skate parks are reopened, but users must maintain two metres minimum distance and avoid touching surfaces including benches and railings. No more than 15 people are allowed in the same location.