City closes playgrounds and urges residents to practice physical distancing
The City of Edmonton announced today that it is closing all City playgrounds, effective immediately. This move is to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Playground equipment is not cleaned or sanitized, so this decision helps limit potential transmission of the virus from hard surfaces.
At the same time, the City is asking all residents to maintain their physical (social) distance from others to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In a news conference held this afternoon, Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin said it is up to everyone to protect themselves and others and to take responsibility for their behaviour.
“With schools now closed, we know the decision to close playgrounds will be disappointing to some families and children,” said Adam Laughlin. “We are taking this action, and reminding people about physical distancing, to limit the spread of the virus and protect people, especially those who are most vulnerable.”
Alberta Health Services recommends maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres (six feet) from each other at all times, even when outside. This, along with staying home when sick, and diligent handwashing, has proven to be the most effective method to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The City is also doing more education, and increasing monitoring on river valley trails and stairs that are popular with outdoor fitness enthusiasts. To encourage greater physical distancing, some tables will be removed from picnic areas.
Assisting People Experiencing Homelessness
On Monday, March 23, the EXPO Centre was opened to provide physical distancing space and health services to Edmonton’s most vulnerable population. The centre is being operated by Community and Social Services, Alberta Health Services, Homeward Trust, The Boyle McCauley Health Centre and Boyle Street Community Services. The facility provides a daily drop-in space from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those who are well, and a 24/7 isolation centre for those experiencing homelessness who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19. The centre is not open to the general public or media.
“Together, our partners are working to ensure this space has everything needed to care for Edmonton’s most vulnerable people,” said Laughlin. “We hope this facility will help those who need a bit of extra support find a safe space to physically distance during these difficult times.”
Also on Monday, the City of Edmonton closed down the majority of its front counter service centres to protect the health of City employees and the public. Most of the services available through these service counters can be accessed online at edmonton.ca, by using the 311 app or by calling 311. Service through the Animal Care and Control Service Centre is available by appointment only.