Lethbridge mayor reiterates message to residents to follow COVID-19 health guidelines
LETHBRIDGE -- Lethbridge mayor, Chris Spearman, held a media availability Wednesday morning in response to Premier Jason Kenney's announcement on new COVID-19 restrictions.
Kenney announced that the province will once again be implementing stricter COVID-19 health measures after Alberta surged to become a North American COVID-19 hotspot over the weekend.
The new measures, known as 'Stop the Spike', will see multiple businesses and activities across the province shut down for three weeks.
Spearman expressed his support for the new measures and is calling on the people of Lethbridge to do their part.
"The overall message is to control the spread," he told media during a live streamed conference.
"I think it's an opportunity for Lethbridge and those in Lethbridge to make sure that we're doing our best to control that spread."
Spearman expressed his concern for businesses that have now had to close and reopen at least three times in some cases.
He understands the hardships they've faced over the past year and half and believes there's only one way to reopen them and keep it that way.
"The only way we're going to keep our businesses open in the long run is if we get ahead of the virus, make sure people are vaccinated and limit further spread."
When it comes to the local businesses, many are hard pressed by the continuous shutdowns and are unsure of what the future holds.
Tracey Rogerson is the General Manager of the Telegraph Taphouse in downtown Lethbridge and says this roller coaster of a year has taken its toll on the pub and its staff.
"It's just very difficult for us with all the rules that have changed over the last year," she told CTV.
"Going from social distancing and the capacity keeps changing, then we were able to move outside to the patio. So we've purchased a lot of extra patio furniture just to find out that now that's a no go as well."
Restaurants are still able to offer take-out and delivery once the new restrictions kick in at the end of the weekend.
In addition to restaurants and bars, personal and wellness services are also being forced to close for three weeks come Sunday.
This includes tattoo parlors, nail salons, tanning salons and hair salons.
High Maintenance Barber Shop, located only blocks from Telegraph Taphouse, is also very concerned about what the future will hold.
"If everything keeps closing down, when is it to going to be open again?" asked the shop's co-owner Elia Zebebe.
"At first they said it was going to be closed for a few months and it turned out to be a year and a half and now they're closing everything back again. You know, it's tough. It's really tough."
Mayor Spearman understands the struggles these businesses have been facing and is hopeful these new health measures will help bring Lethbridge, and the province, back to a manageable level.
"We need to make sure that everybody in the community is supporting the message, everybody is doing the best that they can and abiding by the health orders in every way possible."
For a full list of the new health measures and restrictions laid out in 'Stop the Spike', you can visit the Government of Alberta's website.