After 15 months, the City of Calgary is lifting its state of local emergency.
While it doesn’t mean much to the average person, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, everyone needs to be cognizant of each others’ reopening comfort levels.
The province is in Stage 2 of the reopening. With first dose vaccine rates nearing 70 per cent, a full reopening could be at hand by June’s end.
“Some people are excited about going to the Stampede. Some people will not go to the Stampede this year. Some people cannot wait to rip off their masks. Some people are saying I’m going to keep my mask on when crowded places for the near future. And it’s all OK,” Nenshi said.
“The city is here to support businesses who are ready to open. We’re here to support businesses that don’t feel right about opening quite yet.”
While restrictions continue to lessen, opinions and feelings will differ throughout the process.
“Some people will feel it is too fast. Some of us will feel that it’s too slow. Either way, it’s important you move at the speed that is right for you and for your family,” Chief Sue Henry, with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said.
Although this is an exciting time for Calgary, we need to hang in there a bit longer and continue to adhere to any and all health restrictions, Chief Henry said.
The removal of the State of Local Emergency won’t impact many citizen-facing service, the mayor said. It allowed the city to focus resources and procurement to help with the emergency plan.
What’s to come
The amount of vaccinated Calgarians directly impacts the lessening of restrictions and the overall reopening process.
If the province lifts their mask mandate by July 1, the City of Calgary may choose to keep it in place until there is a higher second dose percentage. But based on the current rate, it would likely be a couple of weeks difference, Nenshi said.
“Be kind to those who are making their decision about the vaccination. [For] those people, help nudge them towards vaccination but do so in a way that is kind,” he said.
“I would find it hard to imagine that we would not repeal the face coverings bylaw by the end of July.”
The mask bylaw only applies to indoors, meaning Stampede won’t be affected by any changes to the mandate.
The “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” set to open its gates on July 9, Calgary Stampede officials announced today masks will be encouraged for guests but mandatory for all employees and volunteers.
“While we encourage citizens to continue to adhere to provincial health protocols and best practices, we are now in a position where we can shift our focus towards re-opening City facilities, services and programs in step with the Province’s Open for Summer plan,” Henry said.
Addressing outbreak concerns
While hospitalization, ICU and active case rates are on the decline, it does not mean Calgarians are done with COVID-19 yet.
“We’re still seeing a large number of deaths,” Mayor Nenshi said.
“The outbreaks related to the Delta variants are deeply concerning. But ultimately, we are also working on how we are moving forward and we’re making good progress.”
The City will continue the activation of the Municipal Emergency Plan to provide citizens and City employees with information, resources and supports they need in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, The City of Calgary said in a statement.
“While the SOLE has been lifted. It’s important to proceed with cautious optimism,” Chief Henry said.