Karen Mann, emergency management co-ordinator for the City of Red Deer. (Screenshot by Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s recreation facilities to remain closed until June 30

Experts advise that longer social distancing is needed to curb virus

The closure of City of Red Deer’s recreation and culture facilities has now been extended to June 30.

As part of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, city officials announced the temporary closure of City of Red Deer recreation and culture facilities, programs and services to what would normally be the end of the school year.

“We continue to monitor this ever-evolving situation, and through the Emergency Operations Centre we are making changes and modifications to City operations and policies regularly,” said Karen Mann, the city’s emergency management coordinator.

“We know these changes have significant impacts on our employees and citizens, and we thank everyone for their support and understanding as we work to protect our community.”

The City’s decision to extend the facilities’ closure to June 30 is being done on the advice of health experts who have followed the patterns of other viral outbreaks, said Mann. Experts believe up to 12 weeks of social distancing could be necessary to protect the community and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The closures are impacting 120 casual employees who work at these facilities. City manager Allan Seabrooke said these workers will be temporarily laid off and automatically hired back when the facilities are re-opened.

Meanwhile, annual sanitizing and maintenance of the recreation facilities has been moved up to coincide with this closure instead of in the fall.

At this time it’s believed that summer camps will be running. Registrations are accepted online for programs starting on or after July 1, by booking online at looknbook.reddeer.ca.

City officials are exploring changes to other services, such as transit operations. “We anticipate making modifications to potential service changes related to conventional transit in the coming days,” said Mann. “We are considering a variety of options as we know many people reply on transit to get to work or health care appointments.”

All citizens are urged to follow the recommendations of Alberta Health Services. For the latest information on COVID-19 visit alberta.ca/covid19.

To find out the latest about how city services are impacted visit reddeer.ca/covid19. Please call the Call Centre, open 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. with questions at 403-342-8111.

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