(RIMBEY REVIEW file photo)

Rimbey mayor: Relaunch plan relies on social distancing to succeed

Rick Pankiw expects many residents will be pleased with the relaxation of public health orders

Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw expects many residents and small business owners will be pleased with the provinces relaunch plan allowing some businesses to reopen immediately and others to be opened in a phased plan.

Premier Jason Kenney introduced Alberta’s 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/.

Pankiw said the plan relies on everyone continuing to maintain social distancing, which will allow the virus to remain subdued and the plan to progress.

“Everything needs to go alright in stage one with the boat launches, golf courses, some of the dental offices and physiotherapists to determine whether May 14 will go ahead,” he said. “The common denominator that people need to remember is that if you don’t have to go out, stay home.”

Pankiw said Alberta is not out of this pandemic until a vaccine is found and it needs to be controlled with social distancing. With that in mind, Town facilities will remain closed until phase two at least.

“We would probably look at a reopening during stage two, which is still at a too be determined time. We will see how stage one goes and judge from there,” he said, adding that also means municipal parks and playgrounds will remain closed as well.

Pankiw said there was mixed signals leading up to the announcement of the plan from the Province.

“Hopefully it goes right, but I do believe there was things out of the blue which surprised all of us,” he said.

In terms of support for municipalities, Pankiw said the Town, Albertan Mayors, AUMA and the A continue to lobby the Province and the Government of Canada for financial support.

“We aren’t sure what is going to happen with some municipalities, not only in our area but also around the province and the country. We can’t go into debt and we still are waiting for answers,” he said.

He added, “We want to continue to tell our residents that they have done an exceptional job of social distancing. We want to remind people to continue that as it is warming up. We are continuing to try to win this battle over this pandemic.”


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