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City writing premier to advocate regional economic relaunch approach

Grande Prairie city council hopes the provincial government will consider taking a regional approach to the economic relaunch. They have approved Mayor Bill Given writing a letter to Premier Jason Kenney indicating their support for reopening the province on a region-by-region basis.

Given says he understands that Alberta is a large and diverse province and the outbreak of COVID-19 has and will continue move in different ways across the Alberta, but would like local businesses to get the tools needed to re-launch as safely as possible.

“Doing our due diligence, we want to make sure we know what we can do to equip our businesses to operate in a way that will allow them to open the doors again when the time is right and to do it [safely],” he explains.

Given says, overall, the province’s relaunch plan is a positive step but wants Grande Prairie residents to recognize that what has been laid out is a guideline, but not a guarantee.

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“People have focused in on the May 14th date and I think we would be mistaken to do that,” he says. “The plan identifies a number of measures that have to be met for anything to possibly happen on May 14th, and I think we have to acknowledge that.”

The first of the three-phase Government of Alberta economic plan would see retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture, and bookstores, as well as some personal services like hairstyling and barbershops reopen so long as business operators continue to follow public health guidelines, including personal distancing.

City councillors have also asked the provincial government for information on what practices will be needed so that businesses can open safely for both their staff and the public. The letter will also indicate that the City is willing to adapt to prepare the region for the necessary conditions.

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