To minimize the possibility of COVID-19 spreading and reducing the impact on the community, the City of Chestermere has cancelled or postponed upcoming local events.
“We know that the virus is spreading and changing by the hour. This is all about trying to minimize the impact to the community and keep the community as safe as possible,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.
“Councils role is to make sure our community is safe. We’re listening to the advice of the professionals, and we thought it prudent that we get ahead of the game,” he said.
The cancelled or postponed events include the Dirt to Door Developer’s Forum, Social Program Design Labs, Parent Link Looking Back and Moving Forward Celebration, Arts and Culture Workshops, Women in Municipal Government, Easter Egg Hunt, Butterfly Gala, and All Parent Link Centre Programming.
“We all know that close contact is one of the ways of spreading this. When we start cancelling these types of events, it’s all about a lot of people in small places. It’s proactive, trying to keep our community healthy,” Chalmers said.
“For the most part, this is getting ahead of the curve and minimizing the impact on our community,” he added.
“It’s very clear that in the declaration of this being a global pandemic, this is not going to be getting any better any time soon, but it’s only going to be getting worse,” said the Director of Emergency Management and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bernie Morton.
“We can be reactive, or we can be proactive. Events in communities are important, but what’s more important is people’s health,” he said
As a precaution, City Hall and other municipal buildings will be closed to the public beginning March 16.
“We want to limit the exposure and risk of our visitors and our staff contracting COVID-19 and ensure that we can continue to provide municipal services in the coming weeks,” Chalmers said.
“We have decided to close municipal buildings to the public. Instead, we will be offering our services online, via conference and video calls, the telephone and email,” he said.
Municipal services including financial services, social support services, parent support services, development, and building permits and most other services offered out of City Hall are available online at www.chestermere.ca, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 403-207-7050.
Emergency services are available. Road maintenance, and curbside collection of organics, recycling and garbage will continue as scheduled.
The Chestermere RCMP detachment and the Public Works EcoCentre for material drop off will remain open.
“We have been in contact with the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA), to ensure that the required protocols are in place and communication has been made to the users. At this stage, I’m satisfied with their proactive measures,” said Chalmers.
In addition to cancelling events, and closing municipal buildings, the Chestermere Emergency Management Agency (CHEMA) is now in the prevention and containment stage of local preparedness and response.
The community crisis plan, business continuity plan, safety check protocols, and stock of emergency supplies are being reviewed.
Employers are encouraged to review sick time policies, ask employees not to come into work when they are sick, and employers and employees should work together to explore potential alternate working arrangements.
There are no confirmed cases of COVD-19 in Chestermere. However, the city is working to mitigate the risk and stop the spread by strongly recommending all visitors, clients, patrons, students, and staff at any location follow the proper hygiene protocols.
All upcoming events and gatherings held by local groups should be re-evaluated, and they should consider postponing any events that could contribute to the transmission of COVD-19.
Although there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, the city recommends residents ensure all contact surfaces and hands are regularly and effectively sanitized as food is prepared and consumed.
“In the absence of having any confirmed cases in Chestermere, we are trying to be as proactive as possible,” Morton said.
The city continues to stay in close communication with AHS and receives daily updates from Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency.
“The COVID-19 is not like any other threat we have seen in the past few decades. It is more severe than seasonal influenza and more contagious than viruses like SARS,” Morton said.
“This virus is aggressive, at the same time as being brand new. It can be contained, but it will take a concerted effort on all of us to do so,” he said.
It is extremely important that Chestermere, and area residents continue to wash their hands properly and often, use hand sanitizer in addition, avoid touching your face, avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, cover coughs and sneezes then wash your hands, and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.
More information on Chestermere’s response can be found on the City of Chestermere’s website at https://www.chestermere.ca/covid19.
If anyone is feeling symptoms, self-isolate, and call Health Link at 811 for further instructions.
Due to significant wait times, AHS has advised they are adding additional staff to the 811 Health Link line and ask callers to be patient.
For additional information on COVID-19 in Alberta, or to take the self-assessment tool, please visit the Government of Alberta website at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx.