Mayor pleased with provincial COVID-19 reopening benchmarks

Grande Prairie City Hall (Emma Mason, MyGrandePrairieNow.com staff)
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Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton believes the hospitalization benchmarks announced by the province go a long way in clearing up the long-term business reopening strategy.

“I think it’s a good start. People were looking for information and this provides them some parameters, timeframes, and guidelines as to how they can get to a reopen phase,” she says.

On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney announced steps for loosening up some COVID-19 restrictions based on hospitalizations. Restaurants will be allowed to reopen in-person dining, with gyms also getting the green light to reopen for one-on-one training starting on Monday, February 8th.

The first stage has a benchmark of fewer than 600 hospitalizations and declining, which has already been reached. The province says, after three weeks, if hospitalizations drop below the next benchmark, a decision on moving into the next phase will be made.

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Clayton says some business owners, including restauranteurs, have been hoping for this information for some time and it gives them a clearer picture.

“It may not be soon enough for some, but now you know where the province stands, depending on the type of business you operate when you can get open,” she says. “I think, as laid out, they’re clear to understand… the numbers seem to be the best model people having expectations for when they can reopen.”

Clayton says the municipality is reminding owners and anyone who will be taking the opportunity to dine-out soon to continue using COVID-19 health practices like social distancing and wearing a mask when in public.

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