SYLVAN LAKE, ALTA. -- The Town of Sylvan Lake is rolling out the unwelcome mat in an effort to dissuade seasonal property owners and visitors from descending on the town.

On Tuesday, town officials announced plans to keep a number of facilities closed during the COVID-19 pandemic including:

  • Playgrounds and sports fields
  • Public washrooms
  • Picnic shelters

"What we need to emphasize, is that to prevent a local health outbreak – to prevent that overwhelming impact on our local health services, which are already limited, is to stay home – your primary home, and visit us later once Alberta Health and our Chief Medical Officer of Health determines it safe to do so," said Ron Lebsack, Sylvan Lake's director of emergency management in a statement posted on the town's website.

Green spaces and trails will remain open for individual use by local residents but officials say proper social distancing will be enforced.

Sylvan Lake is also asking all non-permanent residents to stay away from the area for now.

"We have a large seasonal population that returns to their cottages, lake homes, or secondary residences, once the snow melts," said Jared Waldo, Sylvan Lake's supervisor of culture and tourism. "We are reinforcing the message of Alberta, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, which is to please stay in your primary residence while we all try to mitigate the COVID-19 situation."