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Calgary shuts down personal care businesses, organized sports to stop coronavirus spread

The City of Calgary has shut down personal care businesses and cancelled all organized sports in the city, as additional steps are taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson issued the orders Friday afternoon.  Personal care businesses, as defined in the Bylaw 32m98, (excluding retail sales), body rub or body rub practitioners, and non-emergency, non-critical health care services, included, but not limited to: physiotherapy, massage, etc are hereby closed, Sampson said.

In addition to the business shutdowns, Chief Sampson said that on top of the playground closures that were enacted early this week, all organized sports are cancelled. Further, city skateparks are also now closed.

“We recognize that this is disappointing to many, and that this spring weather – it’s going to be a lovely weekend – has many Calgarians wanting to go out and take in their part in typical activities,” Sampson said.

“Unfortunately, this is not a typical time, things are different. And so, we must act differently.”

Calgarians can still use the field spaces but are asked to continue maintaining a safe distance from one another. Sampson also said the city has 8,000 hectares of park space and hundreds of kilometres of pathway for people to enjoy.

“I encourage you to try and explore the places less traveled in our inner city. Two meters of distance would be or should be very easy to maintain, if we’re not all going to the same park,” he said.

Coronavirus plans for Calgary’s homeless

Mayor Nenshi said they’ve heard good news from Inn from the Cold and that they’ve moved several of the families into their own new apartments to increase the distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The mayor also said that both the Alpha House and the Calgary Drop In Centre were able to move “some portion of their clients” into hotel rooms.

When asked how many, Nenshi said he didn’t have an exact number.

“It’s certainly in the hundreds,” he said.

They won’t be proceeding with that plan any longer, the mayor said. They are moving into an overflow shelter situation where they can accommodate more people and keep the physical distancing.

“This hybrid model will allow us to see what is more effective,” said Nenshi.

 “I don’t mind saying I’m still a bit nervous about the congregated facilities and disease transmission but certainly that is the model that is being used in most other cities, including Edmonton.”

Nenshi said they would continue to monitor it and take all of the health ministry’s recommended precautions.

Temporary road closures for physical spacing

Earlier Friday, a briefing note was circulated by Calgary roads director, Troy McLeod. It showed a handful of areas in the city where lanes would be closed temporarily over the weekend to provide enough space in certain areas for people to walk, while maintaining the appropriate distances.

The mayor said they were trying to ensure space was available but hesitated to broadcast it widely.

“What I don’t want is, I don’t want people to use that as an invitation to go to places that are already crowded. And so we’re really doing it much more on a reactive basis, rather than saying, ‘Hey, everybody, the 16th Avenue north is open for a street party,” he said.

“It’s going to be much more along the lines of just making sure that if we need to use roadway space so that people have room, we will do so.”