The City of Chestermere began phase one of the local relaunch strategy on May 14.
“Locally in Chestermere, we are progressing with stage one,” said the Director of Emergency Management Bernie Morton.
“We’ve worked with many businesses and the Chestermere Chamber of Commerce over the past weeks as the reopening activities commence. It’s crucial to remember that the virus has not been eradicated, and reopening is not an innovation to throw caution to the wind, and it doesn’t mean that everything is really back to how it used to be,” he said.
In order for stage one of the relaunch to be successful, the local cases of COVID-19 must be kept low.
“We need to remember that the reopening is a slow, gradual, and carefully thought out process and if we as a community are able to perform as well through phase one as we have been in the initial couple of months of this virus, we will be able to progress to phase two,” Morton said.
Adding, “As more businesses reopen, we must all remember to do our part.”
Under stage one of Chestermere’s relaunch strategy retail businesses, hair salons, barber shops, museums, art galleries, daycares, out of school care, and day camps can reopen with limited occupancy.
While cafés, restaurants, pubs, and bars are permitted to open for table service at 50 per cent capacity.
Sanitization, gathering, self-isolation, and hygiene requirements all remain in place under stage one.
The dog beach has also reopened; however, residents are encouraged to not gather in groups larger than 15 and maintain a two-metre distance from anyone they do not live with.
The boat launch will reopen to the public on May 29, under new sanitization measures.
“There will be a daily cap of approximately one boat every 20 minutes, that is the time that we need in order to process every boat going through and do the proper sanitization that is required after every customer goes through,” Morton said.
Under the new protocols, approximately 25 vessels will go through the boat launch per day.
“This limit allows for the boat launch staff and visitors to do what they need too to keep you safe,” Morton said.
The Chestermere Emergency Management Agency (CHEMA) also recommends the use of masks when in crowded public areas.
“Continue to slow the spread of this virus. Continue to be safe and protect your friends and family. At the Emergency Command Centre (ECC) we will also work to ensure our businesses can operate in a safe manner as they reopen,” Morton said.
Although businesses are beginning to reopen, Morton reminded residents during a virtual town hall meeting on May 13 that normal is going to look different for communities going forward.
“At the end of the provinces proposed phase three, we should still anticipate protocols around social distancing, which is a new term that we’ve all become familiar with, vigorous hand washing, sanitization, and hygiene will remain in place to prevent the spread of the disease, and to prevent future pandemics,” Morton said.
When the community moves to stage two of the relaunch strategy, Morton reminds residents to stay home when sick, despite businesses being open.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, it’s essential that residents continue to wash hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay at least two metres from those not living in the same household.
“With your help, and continued commitment, we can continue to prevent the spread and return to a new normal,” Morton said.
“We’re starting to reopen. Reopen doesn’t mean going back on our commitment of sanitization and safety,” he said.
Adding, “It doesn’t mean we can be reckless. We have to be vigilant as we reopen, this is an exciting stage for many people. Thank you to all for your cooperation as we move into phase one.”