Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said he was pleased to see the Province of Alberta’s Relaunch plan, which will see businesses and services begin reopening after the COVID-19 crisis forced them to shut down.
Premier Jason Kenney introduced their phased relaunch plan on April 30 during a press conference. The plan will see Alberta Health Services resume some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries as soon as Monday, along with allowing dental and other health-care workers, such as physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, dietitians and more, will be allowed to also resume services starting Monday.
Golf courses and access to provincial parks and public lands can begin Monday.
A more detailed look at Phase 1 and the rest of the relaunch plan, which begins on May 14 can be found at: https://www.lacombeexpress.com/news/alberta-releases-staged-covid-19-relaunch-strategy/.
Poole said the plan appears to be well laid out.
“For our community, it means the resumption of some health services, dental workers and some social workers,” he said. “Our greenspaces have remained open and we now know we will be able to use our municipal campground.”
Poole said the Province didn’t communicate directly with the Town, but they did hold call-in town halls and worked with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA).
“I think the plans have been in the works and have received a lot of feedback from a lot of communities. Minister (Kaycee) Madu has held some government town halls where we have called in and he has heard a lot of feedback,” he said.
Poole commended the work of the Province and pubic health officials in coming up with the plan.
”I feel they have been considerate of the dates they have put down, with stage 1 being May 14. I think they are looking at the entire curve and all the things happening throughout the province and have really tried to put together measured and a very considerate approach on how we move forward,” he said.
Poole believes the Town has been able to communicate with their citizens effectively during the current pandemic.
“We have have had great cooperation from our Town staff and administration and I think we have done a really good job conveying what is happening to citizens while also making sure we are following all of the guidelines that were laid out,” he said.
In turn, Poole said Blackfalds residents have generally followed the public health guidelines laid out to them.
“You will always find in any community that there is a variation when you put in restrictions but from what I have heard, the majority of people have understood the need and have cooperated,” he said.
“There are a number of people who want to see the reopening happen a lot faster but I think it is important that we use the science to move forward. That is what this plan has done.”
He thanked residents who have stepped up to keep COVID-19 low in central Alberta so far.
“They have done an absolutely fantastic job and it hasn’t been easy for them. I think the real credit has to go to everyone who has been cooperating,” he said.