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Calgary dog parks still open during COVID-19, but you and Buster need to keep your distance

Calgary dog owners still have the luxury of taking Buster to the off-leash area during the coronavirus, but the mayor’s asking people to use common sense when out.

Last week, the City of Edmonton made the decision to shut down four fenced off-leash areas. They turned 38 others into on-leash areas. These locations have also barricaded parking lots to not let any cars into the area.

They made the decision to reduce interaction with others if a dog runs astray.

At the April 3 City of Calgary COVID-19 briefing, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said they’re trying to maintain a healthy balance between people needing to get out with their pet for exercise and having appropriate physical distance.

“So, what I’m saying is we have not yet considered that, not that we will not consider that,” said Nenshi.

Calgary has 150 off-leash areas for dog owners to give their pooch some outside time, covering more than 1,250 hectares. And, for the owner to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

Don’t pet other people’s dogs, said Nenshi

Given the number of parks, Mayor Nenshi is hoping people can exercise good judgment. Otherwise, they may have to take the privilege away.

“If you’re keeping good physical distancing, if we’re not seeing things overrun, and I know this goes without saying, but if you’re not petting other people’s dogs, then we shouldn’t have to take that action,” he said.

“Yes, dogs don’t necessarily transmit the virus, but if lots of people are petting the dog, you can imagine what is going to happen.”

The city has asked that people avoid congregating in areas. If they see overcrowding in a certain area, to move along to another. Road closures were made public last weekend, to allow for increased spacing for cyclists and pedestrians using the city pathways.

They are encouraging people to walk and explore their neighbourhoods when possible, while keeping a safe physical distance of two metres.