The City of Red Deer is in favour of the province’s decision to relaunch Alberta’s economy, provided social distancing measures stay in place.
Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday some social and economic aspects are expected to open in May.
He said Alberta’s phased relaunch strategy will be similar – but not identical – to Sasktachewan’s approach.
Red Deer city manager Allan Seabrooke said Saskatchewan’s relaunch strategy included five phases.
“If the province of Alberta follows those, we’ll see soon in May we will get reopening of some of the medical services that have been restricted,” he said.
“I know Saskatchewan looked at the reopening of some of the parks, campgrounds and golf courses (in the first phase), which we will look forward to as well.”
The second phase, if Alberta follows Saskatchewan’s plan, may include opening up retail stores and personal care services.
Media reports confirm Saskatchewan’s second phase, on May 19, will permit clothing store, flower shops, pawn shops, travel agencies, vaping stores, hairdressers, book stores and massage therapists to open.
“We want Red Deerians and Albertans to get back to work, but we certainly don’t want the virus to spread and cause a second wave, for example, that we’ve seen in other countries,” said Seabrooke.
The premier said more details on the province’s phased approach, including dates, are to be released later this week, once final decisions have been made.
“We’re looking forward to those details, because that would give some certainty to our businesses and hopefully it gives (the city) advanced timing to be prepared for that,” said Seabrooke.
“Because we, as a city, need to be prepared to get back to what our new normal looks like.”
For those Red Deerians who are concerned about reopening too soon, Seabrooke said those worries are valid.
That’s why the city agrees with the federal government principals that have been put in place as provinces plan their reopenings: protecting the health of Canadians, easing restrictions gradually, protecting high-risk groups, ensuring public health capacity remains strong to respond to any further waves, and supporting a broad range of economic sectors.
Seabrooke believes if Alberta follows those principals, has proper testing in place, tracks anyone who is infected, and follows the public guidelines from the medical officers of health, “we’ll be OK.”
“If we don’t follow those rules, and we’re not as vigilant as we have (been), then there is more danger there.”
He commended Red Deerians’ efforts, which have led to a lower number of cases in the municipality compared to other Alberta jurisdictions.